dition First Edition
HBIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
They gets simultaneous eyes on Rose."
ALFRED HENRY LEWIS
"Wolfville," "The Story of Andrew Jackson,"
"The Story of Aaron Burr," etc.
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY
COPYRIGHT, 1908, BY
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY
COPYRIGHT, 1907, 1908, BY
INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE COMPANY
COPYRIGHT, 1907, BY
THE TIMES MAGAZINE COMPANY
Published May, 1908
IRVING JEFFERSON LEWIS
I. THE WIDOW DANGEROUS 1
II. THE RETURN OF RUCKER 12
III. CHEROKEE HALL, GAMBLER 22
IV. THE LOOKING OUT OF FARO NELL 29
V. THE OFF- WHEELER OFFENDS 39
VI. WOLFVILLE'S REVIVAL 52
VII. BISMARK DUTCH 63
VIII. THE CANYON HOLD-UP 73
IX. THE POPULAR SOURNESS 87
X. Doc PEETS' ERROR 97
XI. JAYBIRD HORNE 109
XII. THE HEIR OF THE BROKEN-O 119
XIII. THE ROSE OF WOLFVILLE 129
XIV. THE ROSE'S THORNS 138
XV. SANDY CARR, VIOLINIST 148
XVI. BOGGS AND THE GHOST 159
XVII. THE GUILE OF COTTONWOOD WASSON .... 167
XVIII. TOP AND BOTTOM 177
XIX. TEXAS RECEIVES A LETTER 187
XX. THE FALSE ALARM 199
XXI. THE JEST OF TALKY JONES 210
XXII. THE CONFUSION OF TALKY 224
XXIII. SOAP SUDS SAL 237
XXIV. THE WOOING OF RILEY 247
XXV. THE COPPER HEAD 257
XXVI. THE SALTING OF THE GOLDEN RULE 268
XXVII. THE WISDOM OF Doc PEETS 281
XXVIII. THE LECTURE IN THE LADY GAY 289
XXIX. CASH Box AND MRS. BILL .301
XXX. MRS. BILL'S PROTECTORATE , . 312
THE WIDOW DANGEROUS
WHICH I've told you," observed the Old
Cattleman, puffing at his briar pipe
"which I've already told you how Missis
Rucker goes on surroundin' old Rucker with connoobial
joy to sech a degree that, one mornin' when her wifely
back is turned, he ups an' stampedes off into the hills,
an* takes refutch with the Apaches. But I never reelates
how he gets aroused to his dooty as a husband, an*
returns. That mir'cle comes to pass in this wise."
Following a reminiscent, smoke-filled pause, the old
gentleman continued: "When Rucker is guilty of this
yere desertion, Wolfville says nothin' an' does nothin'.
It is no part of Wolfville's commoonal respons'bility,
as it sees the same, to go pirootin' off on the trail of
Rucker, with a purpose of draggin' him back that a-way
to his domestic happiness. His elopment is wholly a
private play, an' one wharin we ain't entitled to ask for
kyards. Shorely not, wantin' speesific requests from
Missis Rucker so to do; an' sech don't come.
"On the iinme'jit heels of Rucker's plunge into
savagery, Missis Rucker never alloods to him never
lets on she so much as notices his absence. She con-
tinyoos to deal her game at the O. K. Restauraw on-
moved; she fries our daily salthoss, an* compiles our
daily flap-jacks six to the stack an' neither bats an
eye nor wags a y'ear concernin' that vanished husband.
" Nacherally, thar ain't no one so prodded of a morbid
cur'osity as to go askin' Missis Rucker. With her views
as to what's comin' to her as a lady, an' her bein' allers
in the kitchen, surrounded by sech weepons as flatirons
an' griddles an' stove-lifters, any sech impolite break
might result disasterous. Old Man Enright puts it
right, an' his views gains endorsement by Doc Peets, an'
others among the best intellects of the camp.
"'To go pesterin' around Missis Rucker,' says he,
'in her bereavements, would be ongentlemanly to the
verge of bein' rash, an' the gent don't live in Wolfville
who's that foolishly oncooth.'
"If mem'ry is sittin' squar'ly in the saddle, I reckon
now it's mebby a year before Missis Rucker mentions
her loss. It's one time when we-all shows up for chuck,
an' finds her in a dress as black as a spade flush.
"The same bein' mournin', she explains, in answer
to a remark by Doc Peets complimentin' her looks
which Peets was the genteelest sharp, an' the best edi-
cated, that ever dwells in Arizona. 'I'm mournin' for
my departed he'pmeet. I hears about it in Tucson.
Pore Rucker is deceased; an' of course I dons black,
as markin' his cashin' in.'
"Yere Missis Rucker snuffles a little, an' gouges into
one corner of her eye with her handkerchief, like she's
THE WIDOW DANGEROUS
roundin' up a tear. After which, she sort o' runs a
calk'latin' glance over us gents, then an' thar assembled,
like she's sizin' us up as to what you-all might call our
" Thar's a heap of silence follows that look. Not bein'
gifted none as a mind reader, I can't say how it affects
the balance of the outfit; but, speakin' for myse'f per
sonal, a chill like ice creeps up an' down my back. Also,
I observes a appreehensive look on the faces of Enright
an' Boggs, as though they smells a peril. As to Texas
Thompson, who is camped next to me at the table, an'
has had marital experiences which culminates in a
divorce down Laredo way, I overhears him grind his
teeth, plenty determined, an' mutter:
'"By the Ltfne Star of my natif state, I won't be took!'
"We're all some eager to ask about them tidings which
Missis Rucker ropes onto in Tucson, but none has the
nerve. It's Faro Nell who comes headin' to the general
rescoo. She's perched next to Cherokee Hall, an' looks
gently up from a piece of pie she's backin' off the board,
"Good sakes, Missis Rucker! An' whatever do you-
all track up ag'inst about pore Mister Rucker?'
"'That onforchoonate pard o' my bos'm has departed
this life,' responds the widow, moppin' away her grief.
'I crosses up with a Tucson party, who asshores me that,
when them Apaches goes all spraddled out last spring,
they nacherally begins them hostilities by prouncin' on
Rucker, an' leavin' him on both sides of the canyon.'
"'That's right!' chimes in Dave Tutt, who, bein'
married a whole lot to Tucson Jennie, feels immune
from further wedlock. "Whenever them savages digs
up the waraxe, they yoosually inaugurates negotiations
by layin' out what palefaces is weak-minded enough to
be among 'em, too dead to skin. No; it ain't crooelty,
it's caution. Which they figgers them squaw-men, if
spared, will be off to the nearest army post, with pree-
matoor word of the uprisin'. Wharfore, they descends
on 'em like a fallin' star, an' blots 'em out. After which,
they proceeds with their regular killin' an' skelpin' more
"It's over in the Red Light, to which we reepairs
when feed is through, that the subject comes up in form.
Black Jack, the barkeep, is so impressed by the gravity
on our faces as we files in, that he announces the drinks is
on the house. We refooses; it bein' too close on the
hocks of that salthoss an' them flapjacks for nose-paint,
an' we takes seegyars instead. When we're smokin'
sociable, an' in spite of them alarmin' fulminations of
Missis Rucker, has become somewhat onbuckled an'
confident ag'in, Enright brings the topic for'ard.
'" About her bein' a widow that a-way, Doc?' he says,
addressin' Peets. 'What do you-all, as a scientist,
think yourse'f ?'
"'Which it seems feasable enough,' reesponds Peets,
bitin' thoughtful at his seegyar. 'You know what
Injuns be? Startin' out to slay that a-way, they ain't
apt to overlook no sech bet as Rucker. They'd be onto
him, first flash out o' the box, like a mink onto a settin'
THE WIDOW DANGEROUS
"'Yes,' returns Enright, some oneasy as to tone; 'I
reckon you calls the turn, Doc. They'd about bump
off old Rucker by way of curtain raiser, as they calls it
over to the Bird Cage Op'ry House.'
"' Don't you allow now,' breaks in Boggs, some agi
tated an' appealin' to Enright an' Peets together
'don't you allow now, that old Rucker bein' wiped out
that a-way, sort o' leaves the camp ongyarded?'
'"As how?' returns Peets.
"'As how?' repeats Boggs, his excitement risin'.
'What's to prevent her deescendin* onto one of us, like a
pan of milk from a top shelf, an' weddin' him a heap?
She's a mighty resoloote female, is Missis Rucker, an*
it's only last week she ups an' saws it off on me, all
casyooal, that she's jest thirty-eight years old last grass.
I sees her drift now! That lady's makin' ready for a
spring. Which she's aimin' to snatch a husband from
our shrinkin' midst; an' nothin' short!'
"After what I passes through with that Laredo wife
of mine/ says Texas Thompson, grim as tombstones,
'you can gamble a bloo stack I'll never be wedded alive!'
"As to myse'f,' reemarks Peets, imitatin' a cheerful
countenance, 'I'm barred. Drug sharps, onder the
rooles, cannot be claimed in private matrimony be-
longin* as they do to the whole commoonity. Enright,
yere, is likewise out, bein* too old.'
"That's right!' coincides Enright, relief stealin'
into his eyes; 'I'm too far gone in years to become raw
material for nuptials. Speakin' what I feel, however,
I looks on the sityooation as a heap extreme. As Dan
says, it's plain she has intentions. Then thar's that
black frock: Which widows is dangerous in preecise
proportion as they sheds tears an* piles on mournin'.
It's my onbiased jedgement that she's fixin' her sights
for Dan or Texas thar.'
" Gents/ interrupts Texas Thompson ag'in, his
manner iron, 'you hears what I says a moment back!
Wolfville may follow me to the tomb, but never to no
" ' If I thought this yere widow was that iminent,'
says Boggs, pacin' to an* fro like a startled wildcat, 'I'd
line out for Tucson ontil the footure's more guaranteed.
I'm nacherally plumb nervous; I can't camp down in
the shadow of a great threat onmoved. We was shore
locoed to ever let Rucker get away that time. We might
have knowed it would end in some sech bluff as this.
If I had foreseen the trap he was settin' for us, I'd have
reestored that old profligate to Missis Rucker's arms, or
got downed by the Apaches tryin'. Whatever 's your
advice, Sam?' he concloods, gazin' anxious-eyed at
Enright. 'If it was nothin' worse than a hostile sheriff
on my trail, I'd stand my hand; but this yere is when I
"Seem' Boggs so keyed up, Enright goes off on a
soothin' angle, Peets chippin' in. They both suggests
to Boggs that thar's no call to be preecipitate. It'll
most likely be weeks before Missis Rucker really de-
clar's herse'f, an' sinks them widowed talons into her
seelected prey. Meanwhile, as preparin' for the worst,
all Boggs has to do, they argues, is keep his mind on his
THE WIDOW DANGEROUS
number, an' sing out 'No' to everything she says. Like
wise, it might be as well to hold a pony saddled in the
corral, in case of sudden swoops.
"'In which event/ says Enright, 'if it turns out we
onderestimates her activities an* she wheels on you
abrupt, thar's the pony; an' you plays the same quirt
an' heel as a last resort. Still, it's possible we're
seein' onnecessary ghosts. She may have it in her heart
to make happy some other gent entire.'
"' Thar's one thing,' observes Peets; 'I wants it onder-
stood, in case this conference comes to Missis Rucker's
notice later, that I say she is an esteemable lady, an*
cal'klated to raise the gent, so forchoonate as to become
her husband, to pinnacles of bliss.'
' ' Also,' declar's Enright, some hasty, ' let it be onder-
stood that I'm in on them observations. As the pree-
sidin' inflooence of the O. K. Restauraw, Missis Rucker
is onapproached an' onapproachable her pies is poems
an' her beans a dream, as I've said former.'
"It happens, as it frequent does, that these yere pree-
monitions of the camp is onsustained. Not that I
blames Boggs an' the rest for entertainin' 'em. After
he crosses to the sunset side of the Missouri, a gent can't
be too proodent, 'speshully in the matter of widows.
When one of them forlorn ladies spreads her pinions, an'
takes to sailin' an* soarin' an' soarin' an' sailin' that a-
way, it's time for every single gent to break for cover.
"No; as I states, the timidities of Boggs an' the balance
ain't upheld. Not that Missis Rucker don't frame it up
none to come flutterin' from her lonely perch; only it
ain't Boggs or Texas or any of the boys proper, it's old
Colonel Coyote Clubbs on whom she's closin' down.
"You recalls how, yeretofore, I onfurls to you con-
cernin' the little Colonel ? how he's grizzled, an' harmless,
an' dried, an' lame of the nigh hind laig? how he's got
a face like a squinch owl ? innocent an' wide-eyed an'
full of ignorant wonder, like life is an onendin' s'prise
party? As I then explains, he's p'isenin* coyotes- a
dollar a pelt an' at first has a camp an hour's ride over
towards Tucson. Mebby it's two months prior to when
Missis Rucker gives it out she's alone in the world, an'
goes to ghost dancin', he's done give up his dugout, an'
took to boardin' at the O. K. Restauraw. Bein' gre-
gar'ous, the Colonel likes company; an* as for them
little wolves, they're as prolific an' as apt to find his arsenic
in the subbubs of Wolfville itse'f, as farther out on the
plains. So, as I observes, he's now gettin' his chili-
con-carne at Missis Rucker's, an* workin' out from camp
instead of into it.
"Which it's plenty likely we-all would have seen it
was the Colonel's personal trouble from the jump, only
the day Missis Rucker goes into black an' scares us up
that a- way, the old cimarron is across to Red Dog, dealin'
for a train of burros to pack his wolf pelts to Tucson.
As it is, it ain't a day after he gets back before we iden
tifies him as the gent in interest. Missis Rucker, as
though concealment is now at an end an' the hour ripe
for throwin' off disguises, takes to hoverin' over him at
chuck time, with a terrifyin* solicitood that comes mighty
clost to bein' tenderness. She takes to heapin' his plate
THE WIDOW DANGEROUS
with viands, to a degree that's enough of itse'f to set any
sport of thoughtf ulness to jumpin' sideways. It shore
rattles the Colonel, you bet! an' his appetite gets less
the more she lavishes them delicacies upon him.
"' Which you ain't eatin' more than sparrer birds,
Colonel! ' she says, givin' him a most onmistakable grin.
' Yere; let me get you some plum preeserves which they
ought to tempt a angel!'
"With that she totes forth one of her partic'ler air-
tights, which even Enright don't get a glimpse of only
Fo'th of Jooly an' Christmas, an' onloads the same on
the Colonel. He grows white at this; for, jest as the
good book says that it's vain for the fowler to spread his
nets in the sight of any bird, so also is it footile for a
widow to go inondatin' any speshul gent with plum pree
serves, an' hope to have them sweetmeats miscon-
"Shore, the Colonel for all he's the guilelessest party
that ever makes a moccasin track in Arizona realizes
she's put him in nom'nation to be Rucker's successor.
Likewise the whole outfit grasps this trooth; an', while
the Colonel is turnin' gray about the gills, Boggs is
breathin' freer, an' the desperate look in the eyes of
Texas Thompson begins to fade away. Which the
same shows how, at bottom, man is a anamile utterly
selfish. Once Boggs an' Texas an' them others feels safe,
the knowledge that the pore old Colonel must go cavortin*
across the red-hot plow shares, don't bother 'em a bit.
But sech is life! They coldly leaves him to tread the
wine press alone; an' all as onfeelin' as a band of
prairie dogs. Which I don't scroople later, to reeproach
Boggs with this yere lack of sympathy.
"'What can we-all do?' he replies. 'I'm a friend of
the Colonel's; but what then ? This is a case whar every
gent must kill his own snakes. Besides I see now she's
doo to make him happy. Do you note how free she plays
them plum air-tights on him? An' no more holdin'
back than if they're canned tomatters! Rightly looked
at, the Colonel's in a heap of luck.'
"'Luck or no luck,' says Enright, 'the hands of Wolf-
ville is tied. The camp has an onbroken record of
backin' every matrimonial venture as soon as seen.
Don't we put down the Washwoman's War, by weddin'
French to one of the contendin' females? Ain't we
thar with the goods on the occasion of Tucson Jennie
takin* Dave for better or for worse? An', ag'in when
that pinfeather person, Toad Allen, comes squanderin'
along with old Gleggs' girl, Abby? Also, ain't said
course resulted in sech onmixed triumphs as that blessed
infant Enright Peets Tutt? No; it's Wolfville's system
to play wedlock to win. An', while I won't go so far
as to say that, in the present instance, we remains inert
in case it's Dan or Texas said gents bein' entitled to
partic'ler consid'ration now it turns out to be the Col
onel who's to draw the prize, Wolfville stands nootral.
Barkeep, bring on the nose-paint. Inasmuch as I
trusts that all will regyard these yere words of mine as
final, it is meet we should yoonite in drinkin* onbridled
victory to Missis Rucker, an* the gent she's honored
with her preferences/
THE WIDOW DANGEROUS
"'Thar's one syllable I'd like to edge in/ says Boggs,
when he's emptied his glass. 'Don't you-all reckon,
Sam, that some of us oughter ride herd on the Colonel
till she's tied him down ? He's a gent of honor, an* as
clean strain as hornets; but thar's fates before which
even the gamest sperit breaks ground. An* you sees
yourse'f that, if the Colonel should vamos, it onkivers
others to attack.'
"'Which them cautionary moves/ says Enright,
'might not be thrown away. Although, I'm frank to
say, it's four for one the Colonel meets his happiness
onflinchin'ly. He's too p'lite, that a-way however much
he may distrust his merits, to fly from the affections
of a lady an' take to hidin' out.'"
THE RETURN OF RUCKER
ENRIGHT is plumb correct in his count-up of the
Colonel. As Boggs observes, he's game as
t'rantlers. Still, it ain't his sand, it's his on-
swervin' p'liteness an' good manners that's bound to hold
him. Said trooth is evident when the Colonel discusses
this new an' surprisin' slant in his fortunes with Enright
an' Peets. This yere caucus occurs two days later,
after Missis Rucker offers him her hand.
"It's about second drink time in the evenin' when the
Colonel, lookin' pale an' shaken, comes totterin' into the
Red Light, askin' for Enright. Cherokee Hall, with
Faro Nell on the look-out's stool, is dealin' bank at the
time, an' divers of us is seein' what we can do ag'inst
him; but, at sight of the Colonel's face, one an* all we
cashes in. Cherokee cleans up his game, an' we-all
gathers about to listen.
" * Which you've no objections, Colonel,' asks Enright,
mighty urbane, 'to the camp bein' in on this powwow
none ? From the rapt look in your eyes, I sort o' guesses
what joyful things has happened, an' of course if bein'
over-delicate, mebby, in affairs of the heart you pree-
fers this confab private, why then, nacherally, your
wishes should be regyarded, an' private's the word.'
THE RETURN OF RUCKER
" But the Colonel says he waives privacy. The camp
to a man is his friend, an' plumb welcome to his confi
dence. Hearin' which, we draws up in silence, waitin*
for him to begin. As we does so, Cherokee whispers to
Faro Nell that mighty likely she'd better put on her
shaker, stampede across, an* congratulate Missis Rucker;
which su'gestion she yields to reluctant, preferrin' to
listen to them adventures of the Colonel.
' ' It's this a-way,' says the Colonel, when Faro Nell is
gone an' everybody's organized comfortable. 'Which
it's onnecessary for me to go tellin' a passel of sech ex
perienced sharps as you-all what's took place. Suffice
it that this evenin', after supper is over an' her dishes is
washed, she drives me into a corner an' tells me she is
mine. Now onderstand, gents all: I'm too much a
slave to etiquette, an' was too well brought up by my
folks, to go backin' out of the love of any lady. Which
I've allers held that a lady is not to be refoosed. Her
heart is ever a boon; an' once she bestows it, no gent so
distinguished is possessed of any crooel license to go
shovin* back his cha'r or indulgin' in cold feet.'
"Which them sentiments does you credit, Colonel,'
observes Enright, as the comin' bridegroom pauses to
wipe his for'head.
"That's whatever,' breaks in Boggs, emphatic.
"No, sir/ resoomes the Colonel, when he ag'in com
mands himse'f , ' a lady is not to be declined. That is,
she's not to be declined, assoomin' her to be free. It's
on that p'int, an' that alone, I've come meanderin' over
to be heard. What I asks is the one question: Is this
yere old man Rucker shorely dead ? What I urges is that,
ontil the same be proved, I'm entitled to a stay of ex-
ecootion. I leaves it all to you to you Enright, an'
to you Peets, do I ask too much? Lookin' at the play
from every angle, an* keepin' it before you that my sole
reason for balkin' is a reason of morality, I puts it, as
gent to gent, whether I ain't right?'
"'This yere is a mere quibble!' shouts Boggs, plenty
heated; but Enright, who's the soul of fairness, stops
"'It's impossible to deny/ responds Enright, when
Boggs growlin'ly subsides, 'that the proof, techin' the
wipin' out of Rucker, an' the consequent widowhood
of his relict, is at present some meager. Also, I'm bound
to add that Wolfville, as a strictly moral camp, ain't
hungerin' for no Enoch Arden games. What's your
" Which I entertains feelin's sim'lar,' returns Peets.
'We shore don't want to go ribbin' up no sityooation
where one lady has two husbands. Thar's everything
to be said ag'inst sech a solecism, not only from stand-
p'ints moral but economic. Besides, Red Dog, our
hated rival, wouldn't cease to throw it up.'
"The question bein' gen'ral in its op'rations/ breaks in
Boggs ag'in he's been whisperin' mighty feverish to
Texas Thompson ' an', speakin' for Texas yere as well
as myse'f, I'd like to ask the Colonel, now he casts doubts
on a revered lady's widowhood, whatever is to be his
ensooin* move ? Also, I desires to be heard as sayin' that,
offerin' as he does them doubts by way of defence, the
THE RETURN OF RUCKER
burden of proof is on him. It's for him to show the
lady's married, not for Wolfville to demonstrate she's
"'Gents/ says the Colonel, interruptin' Enright as
he's about to reply, i words is onnecessary. I accepts
the p'sition of Mister Boggs, as bein' sound an* solid as a
sod house. All I asks is time. I've but one request an*
I bases it, as yeretofore announced, on purely moral
grounds. I merely asks that you hold Missis Rucker at
bay, while I takes the trail of that former husband, an*
runs it out. Mebby them hostiles don't kill him none.
Mebby he lives in safety, while gents who are blame
less go facin' delights which of right belong to him
"'How long,' asks Enright, 'do you-all allow it'll
take to settle the life or death of Rucker? You can see
yourse'f, Colonel, thar's a limit ought to go with this.
It would be preeposterous to assoome that you are to
hold the affections of a lady in abeyance, while you go
romancin' about in the hills indefinite.'
"'Six months,' returns the Colonel, pleadin'ly, 'six
little months is all I ask. If I don't drive this yere
absconder into the open by then, I'll return an' accept
my joy without a quiver.'
"'Thar's nothin' to it, Sam!' remarks Peets, an' his
manner is decisive; 'the Colonel's plumb inside his
rights. That Rucker is dead rests wholly on the feather-
blown bluff of some onnamed sport in Tucson. At the
most, sech a condition furnishes us nothin' more cogent
than suspicions. Shorely bigamy ought not to be com-
mitted, an* the good repoote of Wolfville resked or
trifled away on argyooments so insecure.'
'" You're right, Doc/ says Enright musin'ly. 'Which
our stand bein' taken, it's my jedgement the Colonel
better begin his still hunt instanter, an* not wait ontil
the lady becomes privy to his designs. She might take
them doubts about her widowhood invidious/
"Enright's notion as to promptitoode prevails, an' the
Colonel allows he'll go trackin' off for Rucker that very
evenin'. Tharupon Boggs he's been watchful as a
lynx throughout ag'in intervenes.
'"As gents possessin' collat'ral interests,' says he,
'Texas an' I'll jest about accompany the Colonel a
"'Which you ain't intimatin' that I'd break my
compact none about returnin' ? ' asks the Colonel, his eyes
beginnin' to sparkle.
"'Not at all!' returns Boggs. 'We're goin' along in
the c'pacity of guardian angels to you personal. Them
Apaches might down you; an' thar's too much dependin'
on your life for us to take them chances.'
"While the ponies is bein' saddled an' brought up, an'
Black Jack is fillin' the canteens, Enright draws Peets
"'How about it, Doc?' he whispers. 'Would you-
all let Dan an' Texas both go?'
"'An' why not?' asks Peets.
' ' This why not. S'ppose, for any conceiv'ble reason,
none of them parties comes back? You don't want to
forget that you an' me are the next two chickens on the
THE RETURN OF RUCKER
roost. How do you know, in sech events, your profession
as a medicine sharp, or my years, protects us? Re
member, Missis Rucker ain't no girl!'
"'That's all right!' returns Peets, confident an* firm.
' If Dan an* Texas an' the Colonel fails us, as a last resort
we'll emyoolate the ancient Romans. When they wanted
wives, they jumped an outfit called the Sabines, an*
mavericked 'em. That's what we'll do if forced. When
things get dealt down to the turn, an' thar's nothin' but
you an' me in the matrimonial box, we'll nacherally ride
over to Red Dog, an' rope Missis Rucker up a he'pmeet
from among that hamlet's deboshed citizenry. Thar's
them in Red Dog who, at the simple mention, would
"It's the next day before Missis Rucker learns how
the Colonel, with Boggs an' Texas coverin' the play, has
gone rummagin' off after the deefaulter. When she
hears of it, she searches out Enright whar he's buyin'
shirts in the New York Store. Faro Nell an' Tucson
Jennie is with her, an' the three look plenty ominous an'
"'Which I deemands to know, Sam Enright,' says
Missis Rucker, her manner mighty trucyoolent, 'what
you an' Doc Peets means ? '
"'Yes,' choruses the other two; 'what do you-all
mean ? '
' ' Do you reckon I'll allow you two sots to go knockin'
around in my destinies, like blind dogs in a meat shop ? '
adds Missis Rucker.
"My dear Madam,' reemonstrates Enright, placatin'
her; 'what we does is wholly for your deefence. Says
we, "Colonel, you can't have that lady ontil you proves
concloosive she's a single footer. She's a prize worth
strugglin' for an' waitin' for; an', if you're worthy of her,
you won't begretch the time an' labor to prodooce them
proofs that her former husband is defunct." The
Colonel struggles ag'inst this yere dictum, for his love is
over-powerin'. But he is also a gent of reason, so at last
"'This yere '11 do for a sing-song, Sam Enright!' re
turns Missis Rucker none the less she's softened by
them encomiums ' but whyever don't the Colonel bid me
a fond adoo ? '
"Which he couldn't have stood it none/ declar's
Enright. 'He says so himse'f. "Let's start at once!"
is his observation. "If ever I sets eyes on her feechures,
their alloorin* loveliness will carry my resolootion off
its feet." An* so the Doc an* I an' Boggs an' Texas
concurrin' they goes prancin' off for the mountains,
without further procrastinations.'
' 'All right, Sam Enright/ remarks Missis Rucker
after thinkin' a spell, her tones full of meanin'; 'since
you-all sees fit to pick up my hand an' play it, you'd
shore better make it win. You can gamble the limit, if
my Colonel don't come back to me no more, I'll jest the
same know what to do.'
"'You hears her, Doc!' whispers Enright; an', cool an'
steady as he is, he can't reepress a shudder.
"However, the kyards falls as they should. It ain't
three weeks before the Colonel, with Boggs an' Texas,
THE RETURN OF RUCKER
comes ridin' in, whoopin' an* shoutin' triumphant.
Which thar's reason in their whoops; for along with 'em,
his feet tied onderneath a pony, is Rucker, lookin' as
morose as a captive badger. Thar's an Apache ridin'
along, who's out to offer explanations an' take the Rucker
pony back ag'in the same bein' his chattle.
"'Which I informs this aborigine,' explains Boggs, in
eloocidation of the Apache that a- way, 'he's been har-
borin' a criminal in this yere foogitive Rucker. I tells
him he'll play in luck if the Great Father don't send his
big thunder guns, to blow him an' his outfit off the map.
I hands him these fictions for fear, if once he grasps what
we really aims to do with pore Rucker, his hoomanity
gets to millin', an' he turns loose in his blinded way an f
gives us a battle.'
"'Well! well!' says Texas Thompson, as he swings
from the saddle, an' sa'nters into the Red Light to wash
the alkali dust from his throat; 'now it's over, I'm yere
to say I feels a lot relieved. It ain't over-statin' the case,
gents, when I announces that it's the first time, since
ever Missis Rucker puts on black an' gives it out she's
single, I've felt my old-time se'f.'
"As to the Apache, Enright asshores him no apologies
is necessary. Meanwhile the Colonel who's sort o*
hysterical heaps that savage with presents to the y'ears.
He certainly does endow that painted outcast with half
the New York Store!
"'Whar did you-all run up on him, Dan?' asks Peets,
alloodin' to Rucker.
Which we discovers the old groundhawg,' says Boggs,
'in camp with them Apaches; an' all as contented as a
toad onder a cabbage leaf. The outfit he's with warn't
on no warpath. It's that bunch over by the Cow Springs,
with which these yere Injuns of Rucker's ain't been on
speakin' terms for moons, that dug up the waraxe last
spring. It's my belief this deceitful Rucker starts them
tales about his death himse'f. It would be jest his speed;
for he's as cunnin' that a-way as a pet fox.'
"When the foogitive is reestored to Missis Rucker,
that lady never says a word. She looks sour as lemons
though; an' the glances she casts at Enright an' Peets
borders on the baleful.
"'An' I ain't above remarkin', Sam,' observes Peets to
Enright, commentin' on them glances, 'that only I
knows her to be honest an' troo an' humane at heart I
figger she'd half-way like to put a spider in our biscuit,
for roundin' Rucker up.'
"It's the day followin' that exile's return, an', from
where we sits in the Red Light, we can see Rucker set-
tin' the table for supper, rattlin' cups, an' slammin'
plates about permiscus, an' all a heap egreegious an' re
" ' Go over, Jack,' says Enright to Jack Moore, which
latter gent acts in the dooal role of marshal, an' kettle-
tender for the stranglers of which arm of Wolfville
jestice, Enright is chief 'go over, an' bring that miser
able old cimarron to me. I want to give him warninV
"In a moment Jack is back with the old felon, who
looks as genial as a sore-head b'ar.
'"See yere, Rucker!' says Enright, his tones ringing
THE RETURN OF RUCKER
hard an* cold, like iron on ice; 'a word is as good as a
thump in the ribs to a blind mule. Now remember!
If ever you-all plays the domestic trooant in the footure,
an' go abandonin* them feelicities which surrounds you
an' which I fears you are far from appreciatin'
Wolfville rides forth on your trail in a body, an* swings
an' rattles tharwith ontil you're took. Also your next
return to camp will be signalized not by any reestoration
to the lovin' embraces of a wife who dotes on you be
yond your measly deserts, but by stringin' you up to
the windmill as a warnin' to husbands with tastes for
solitood an* travel, an' by way of showin' what happens
to a married gent who persistently omits to come home.
You go back now to settin' them tables; but, as you do so,
b'ar in mind that the Wolfville eye from now has got you
CHEROKEE HALL, GAMBLER
WHICH you-all," the Old Cattleman, con
tinued, with a look both confidential and
confident, "don't have to be told by now
that Cherokee Hall's a gambler. An' while a gent
might do better than gamble, leastwise better for himse'f,
I allers allows Cherokee can't he'p it none. You see
he's gaited congen'tal to take chances a sort o' pree-
destined kyard-sharp from the jump.
"Shore, I don't find no fault with gamblers. For
that matter I don't find no fault with no gent, onless he's
connivin' ag'in me pers'nal; in which eevent I nacherally
adopts measures. Moreover, speakin' of gamblers,
they're a mighty guileless bevy of folks. Which if the
onexpected ever happens, an' I'm took sudden with the
notion of sallyin' forth on the trail of mankind, to deplete
it of its wealth neefarious, I'll shore adhere to gamblers
as my reg'lar prey. As to business men proper, tharby
meanin' store-keeps an' sim'lar commercial chiefs of
scouts, I'll pass up all sech chilled steel tarrapins com
"No; this yere preference as to victims ain't doo to the
sooperior savey of business folks ; for mere wisdom, them
stoodents of trade ain't got nothin' on your kyard-sharps.
CHEROKEE HALL, GAMBLER
But where it comes to standin' pat concernin' money,
they've got mere gamblers that a-way left standin' side
ways. Business men an' gamblers is onlike each other
utter. Their money attitoods is as wide apart as poetry
an' prose. An' for this yere essenshul reason: At his
game, when a gambler gives, he don't get; an* when
he gets, he don't give. Your business gent goes squan-
derin' through the chute of existence the other way about.
He never gives without gettin'; an' he never gets without
givin' assoomin' he's on the level, which he freequent
"Gamblers an' business men runs opp'site from soda
to hock. One takes nothin' but chances; the other
takes everything except. A business man never lets go
one hold till he's got another; a gambler lets go all holds,
an' trusts to out-luck you for a fresh one. Also, thar's
other p'ints of sep'ration: For example, a gambler
never thinks of lendin' you money ontil you're busted.
Which is the preecise eepock a business gent won't let
you have a splinter.
"Go weavin' forth an' try it, if you nurses doubts.
Approach a kyard-sharp for a stake, an' you with a
bundle: That indignant sport'll onbosom himse'f in
language to take the nap off your coat. What he says,
you bet! will be more decisive than encouragin' hot,
an' plenty explicit. Come around when you're broke,
an* he'll revive your faintin' fortunes with half his
bankroll. As opposed to this, whenever you goes troopin'
up ag'inst a business gent to neegotiate a borry, you'll
have to back the play with a bale of secoorities as big as a
roll of kyarpet. He'll want to have 'em in his hand,
too, before ever he permits you to so much as lay b'ar
"Wharfore's this yere difference? You don't have
to dig none deep for causes: Gamblers by nacher
are romantic; a business gent roosts close to the ground.
One is 'motional; the other's as hard an' pulseless as a
iron wedge. The former's a bird, an' gaily spends his
onthinkin' time among the clouds; the latter never soars
higher than he can lift himse'f on wings of bricks an'
"Likewise gamblers is more excellent as company.
When I'm onbuckled, an' romancin' 'round for socia
bility onp'isened of ulterior designs, I shore searches
out your kyard-sharp every time. Gettin' sociable with
a business gent, is about as likely a enterprise as winnin'
the affections of a burglar-proof safe. Thar's a time-
lock goes with his friendship, an' even he himse'f can't
break into it none outside of business hours.
"Re-tracin' our trail to the orig'nal prop'sition, I'm
yere to say that of all in Wolfville it's likely Cherokee's
the most onwary, an' him whose blind side lies openest
to the world. Which he's certainly the most ongyarded
sport! Plumb honest himse'f, with a dealbox as straight
as if laid out in its angles by one of them civil engineer
mavericks, the last he's expectin' is the double cross.
"An* at that, if some evil-minded party's out to skin
Cherokee, to go settin' traps an* diggin' pitfalls ag'in
him would be a waste of time. All that plotter has to
do to start Cherokee's dinero comin' his way, is set
CHEROKEE HALL, GAMBLER
'round an* look pensive a whole lot. Cherokee's so
sympathetic, an* carelessly soft of heart, that to pull on
a expression of gloom means, for the cunnin' wolf who
dons it, a tenth of all Cherokee's got. Which if he was
to track up on ten people in succession, all of 'em down
an' out, it's a cinch he'd have to begin life anew.
"While not exyooberant like Boggs, Cherokee's at
heart a optimist in a ondeemonstrative way. Likewise,
as I says, he's enable to bear other people's sorrows,
an' constrooes 'em, when vis'ble, to indicate a utter lack
of coin. Once he embraces the latter idee, the end is on
its way; life'll be a failure ontil he's reestored the affairs
of that busted prairie dog to a cash basis.
"An' if Cherokee can't stake said bankrupt direct,
the latter bein' too sens'tive to accept, he'll go jumpin'
sideways at him. Some folks grows haughty exactly as
they grows poor; they're humble only when they're rich,
an' refooses favors onless they can get along without 'em.
Whenever Cherokee crosses up with one of these yere
high-strung parties, he'plessly in the hole, he goes piroo-
tin', mighty cautious, round the flanks of his pride, in
veigles him into some shore-thing racket, an' lets him
win himse'f out. Shore; I sees him do it more'n once.
"Gamblers ain't respectable, you says? Well I
don't say they be. Which I will remark, however,
that when we're all gathered together in the misty be
yond, if some gent who's been lined up for eternal jedg-
ment, can't say nothin' for himse'f except he's respect
able, the best thing he can do is pass an' offer to make
it a jack.
"As I casts the eye of mem'ry r'arward, thar's no
more pleasin' than that of Cherokee. Planted
over back of his faro-box, Nell up ag'inst his right
shoulder lookin' out the play, he's shore a benignant
inflooence. As I onderstands, he's foaled orig'nal in
Indiana. I once hears some jaundiced trant'ler
which I quotes this verbal pig-nut prior declar' that
Indiana is settled by folks who started for the West but
lost their nerve. Sech bluffs don't incloode Cherokee
a little bit. He's weak only with the weak, afraid only of
the timid. While he's buffaloed by babes an' sucklin's
easy, the war-song of the bad man huntin' trouble is as
the music of a bridal to his y'ears.
"Likewise Cherokee has views, an* when he's got con
fidence in his aujience he voices 'em. Once over to the
O. K. House at chuck time, some one Texas I reckons,
or mebby now it's Boggs starts oratin' about ladies;
an' lets on that, while they're plumb excellent in a heap
of entrancin* reespecks, you-all can't put a bet on 'em,
they bein' fitful not to say difoosive in their fancies, an'
prone to shift camp on a gent when least looked for.
" Cherokee combats these yere doctrines. 'The same
not bein' my experience, none whatever!' says he.
Then glancin' at Nell who, pretty as a stack of bloos, is
mowin' away her flapjacks an' salt-hoss with the rest of us,
he continyoos. 'Ladies is a heap likelier to run troo
than gents. Which I've seen a lady hock her frock for
the gent she loves. Also, if they ever does quit you, they
quits you only in prosperity. Whoever hears of a lady
abandonin' a party, an' him down? The same bein'
CHEROKEE HALL, GAMBLER
the time, speakin' general, your he-friends seelects to
"'Well/ breaks in Texas, 'every sport to his own
notion! But I certainly does find myse'f in wrong,
when I weds that Laredo wife of mine! Which the too-
multuous hours I passes in my capacity as a husband,
leaves me girl-shy ever since.'
"'Jest the same,' remarks Boggs, 'ladies is mighty
alloorin'. The Doc thar' lookin' over to Peets 're
cites some stanzas, about seventh drink-time last evenin',
that shore matches my feelin's exact:
" ' Oh woman in our hour of ease,
Oncertain, coy an' hard to please;
But seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.
"'Yes, sir-ee!' concloodes Boggs, dippin' into a can
of air-tights, 'you can gamble all you're worth that them's
"'Another thing about ladies,' resoomes Cherokee,
'they shore don't go 'round draggin' their verbal lariats
an' tellin' things. Ladies is plenty reticent an' moote
about what they knows.'
[ "Some of 'em, however,' grumbles Texas, 'is plenty
commoonicative touchin' what they don't know. It
ain't her tellin' things of which she's aware, wharby my
Laredo wife drives me locoed; it's by reelatin* things
of which she's ignorant complete. Which if that lady
only confines herse'f to facts them times, I'd have done
stayed an' give her a battle; but the gent don't live who's
able to keep his feet ag'in torrents of invidious fiction.
That's where my former he'pmeet puts me on the run.
I freely confesses that, whenever she starts exercisin*
her fancy an' her tongue at one an* the same time, I
begins hittin' the high places in the scenery, plenty fran
tic, in efforts at a get-away/
"Speakin' of Cherokee possessin' the deep-sea wis
dom of a cinnamon b'ar that a- way, why he'll even
tackle religion, get him started once. It's what he tosses
off all casyooal one evenin', that more or less serves in
framin' up what you-all might call my theeol'gy. Peets
is sayin' that, while he's eager to accept the idee of a
footure life, his argyooment breaks down every time he
seeks to convince himse'f tharof.
"'I don't seem to connect none,' says Peets; 'an' so,
while sech theeries don't make no hit with me, I'm con
strained to regyard Boot Hill as the final finish.'
"It's yere Cherokee sets in a reemonstrative stack.
'Doc,' says he, 'that's because you faces the wrong way.
Now, startin' from the ondeniable fact that you're livin '
a whole lot, instead of tryin' to prove thar is a yereafter,
s'ppose you tries to prove thar ain't. It's my notion
you'll find yourse'f more up ag'inst it even than you are
before.' Then, appearin' like he's some ashamed, an'
turnin' to Nell who's keepin' tabs, as well as lookin'
out the deal he shifts the subject by askin', 'Whatever
does that last jack do?'"
THE LOOKING OUT OF FARO NELL
FARO NELL'S full partner with Cherokee in his
bank, an' he not only believes in her jedgment
but in her luck. Let the game go rompin*
along ag'inst him for three or four deals, an* he never
fails to call Nell in behind the box. Likewise, the
change is freequent beneficial. Many a time an* oft she
brings home to the checkrack them hundreds Cherokee's
lost out. Yoosual, however, he does the dealin', while
Nell holds down her offishul p'sition on the lookout stool.
" Cherokee sets a heap of store by little NelL Nothin'
'11 cloud him up so quick as ontoward or sultry utter
ances where she is. Nacherally, no se'f respectin' gent'll
say what shocks a lady, an' the lady thar. Shorely,
no one who's a citizen of Wolfville in good standin',
'11 go lettin' his conversation get stampeded that a- way,
no matter what's took place. With chance-blown
sports, the case is sometimes otherwise. But they soon
learns from the way Cherokee looks as well as what he
does for from time to time he's forced to buffalo a few
that, with Nell in the picture, it's a heap discreet to do
their talkin' with the hobbles on. Not that these yere
reestrictions works a hardship neither. In emergencies
thar's still the street, an* any gent whose fate is more'n
he can b'ar is free to go outside an' cuss.
"For myse'f, I attaches no valyoo to that street fran
chise, bein' ag'in bad language at all times, whatever
the indoocements. Profanity is never a advantage, an*
sometimes works a loss; which last is shown in the busi
ness of the English Dooke. It's the verbal short-comin's
of that peer which sets Nell's s'picions to millin'.
Cherokee ? He's no more expectin' that titled Briton to
turn himse'f loose fraudyoolent, than for Black Jack to
ask a blessin' or break forth into the doxology. Also,
the affair's a heap to Nell's credit; an' it shows that, when
she's lookin' out, she's a adjunct not wisely to be dee-
" Old Monte brings news of that patrician first. 'An'
that nobleman/ says he, 'is threatenin' Wolfville with a
call. He's pesterin' about Tucson now; an', you hear
your Uncle Monte! what he's doin' to farobank in that
meetrop'lis would fill a book! Dookes, that a-way, is
"The Dooke it looks like exhausts Tucson, an' then
he comes bulgin' into Wolfville per schedyool. Thar
bein' no reason in partic'lar to have it in for dookes,
the camp meets him plenty cordial. Enright an' Peets
both drinks with him, an' tells him to browse 'round in
the same onmuzzled way he would in England.
"In the beginnin', the Dooke gives himse'f up to askin'
questions concernin' the 'Resources of Arizona.' An'
you can gamble he don't ask in vain. Which if he keeps
tabs on them 'Resources,' as Texas an' Boggs an' Tutt
enoomerates the same, the complete round-up's shore
calk'lated to make him dizzy. Accordin' to them statis-
THE LOOKING OUT OF FARO NELL
ticians, Arizona, as a land flowin' with milk an' honey,
has Canaan backed plumb off the map. Canaan ain't
got a look-in! The Dooke, however, lets on he likes it,
an' goes rummagin' about, buyin' licker an' droppin'
' Hs,' an' all mighty aff 'ble an' permiscus.
"He's a big, good-lookin' sport, the Dooke is; an'
among other impedimenta, as the Mexicans say, he's
got a valet. Whatever a gent needs of a valet in a cow
country is too many for me, but the camp figgers it's
a way dookes has, an' lets it go at that. This yere valet
puts in his servile time standin' 'round, an' never opens
his clamshell. In case the Dooke makes signals,
however, he jumps to the fervent front like a jack-
"It's the second afternoon when the Dooke decides
to give Cherokee's game a whirl. He don't make no
bones about it, but pulls up a cha'r as condescendin'
as any other hoss thief, buys a couple of stacks of reds,
an' stands blandly in. Nothin' much happens for meb-
by it's a hour. The luck swings to an' fro, like the
pendyoolum of one of these yere Dutch clocks; now the
Dooke's ahead, now he's behind, but on the whole he's
"Through divers an' sundry vicissitoods, the Dooke
keeps his temper, an' it ain't ontil his swell bet's swept
in his language begins to get hectic. He's in for the
limit, two hundred simoleons, on the big squar', coppered.
The king falls to win, an' nacherally the specyoolation
goes ag'inst him. Wharat the Dooke onburdens in a
mouthful of mighty dire oaths.
"Cherokee halts the deal, his thumb on the face of
the winnin' king.
"'Excoose me,' says Cherokee, eyein' the Dooke a
heap icy an* implac'ble. 'Let me remark in passin'
that, while I don't aim to lay down no lingual rooles for
the British nobility, if you-all is ag'in guilty of sech oral
malefactions in the presence of this yere young lady,
you'll get all kyarved up. The last offender has to
sw'ar in his vote 'lection day, his feachures bein' altered
to that degree he loses his identity. He looks so plumb
strange an* new that even his acquaintances don't know
"The Dooke breaks into profoose 'pologies. His
feelin's, he explains, gets their bridle off inadvertent,
an' it ain't goin' to happen no more.
"Ton me word, it woan't!' says the Dooke.
"'All right!' returns Cherokee, proceedin' with the
turn. 'Which I'd have sliced you into half-apples at
once, only I remembers how you're English, an' a
Dooke besides, an' makes allowances for a nacheral
ignorance. But don't do it no more. Seven lose, nine
"The Dooke keeps on goin' behind, an* when the next
deal's down to the turn his last red chip finds its way
back into the rack.
"'James,' says he, motionin' to his valet who's hover-
in' in the background, 'give me me check-book.'
"The valet capers for'ard with the check-book, an*
one of them new-fangled pens which has ink up its sleeve.
The Dooke gets busy an' indites a check. He pauses
THE LOOKING OUT OF FARO NELL
about the middle, an' remarks to Cherokee in that tired
way which is the indoobitable mark of bloo blood,
'Me dear sir, this game is trivial to the verge of fatiguin'.
Would you mind advauncin' the limit to a thousand on
doubles an' five hundred on a case? Reelly, I don't
know but I might take some interest in it then.'
"'No sech appeal,' replies Cherokee, 'is ever made to
me in vain. In order that Wolfville may seem in all
respecks like London to you, I yereby authorizes you to
bet 'em higher 'n a cat's back.'
"'Thanks, aw'fly!' says the Dooke.
"The Dooke signs the check, an' starts to pass it over
to Cherokee. Then he draws it back.
"'No,' says he, smilin' like a p'lite bob-cat, 'it would
be too presumptuous to ask a stranger to accept me
signachoor for so large a sum. This is for one thousand
pounds I should say five thousand dollars; I'll send
it down to the express company.' Then to the valet:
'James, take this to the Wells-Fargo office. They've
had instructions, an' will give you gold for it.'
"The valet bows to the floor as he ropes onto the check.
'Very good, sir!' he says, an' ambles off.
! "An' now,' observes the Dooke to Cherokee, 'if
you'll be so kind as to oblige me with five thousand dollars
in chips, pendin' me valet's return, I think we may
continyoo. The cash to pay for them will be here pres
ently not a doubt of it! Or, if by any accident an*
that's hardly to be thought of as possible a mistake
has occurred in the express company's instructions, an'
the check is not honored, the play need bind no one.
Win or lose, it's onderstood that onless James returns
with the five thousand, the play don't go.'
" Cherokee never dreams of hesitatin', but shoves over
five thousand in yellow chips a hundred dollars a chip.
The Dooke sweeps 'em towards him, an' the deal
"It's yere an' now that luck shifts; the Dooke com
mences to win. He's pilin' up the yellow boys in stacks of
ten, too a cool thousand on a kyard! Likewise, since
he's placin' each bet so it's down four ways at once, he's
gettin' veheement action. Everything's the Dooke 's
like a avalanche, an' by the time the deal's half out,
he's ten thousand to the good an' still a-goin*. Also,
he ain't so thoroughbred but what his eyes is blazin'
with avarice. Cherokee's face is as deevoid of expression
as the wrong side of a tombstone. The deal goes on,
the stream of the Dooke's winnin's flowin' in onchecked.
"When that valet goes weavin' off to the Wells-Fargo
folks, packin' the Dooke's five thousand-dollar check,
Nell slides off her perch, an' motions Boggs to take her
place. No one minds; she does the same thing often when
she's tired. The deal proceeds, Boggs actin* as lookout,
an' Nell sa'nters forth into the street.
"The Wells-Fargo office is at the far end of camp, an'
onless the valet's a antelope it'll be twenty minutes before
he's doo to show up. The Dooke's skirmishin* with his
eye watchin', an', when at last he does get back, sees
him the moment he steps in the door. Black Jack, who's
faced so he can tell, avers that the Dooke signs up to the
valet with a pecooliar wink, an' that tharupon the valet,
THE LOOKING OUT OF FARO NELL
like the wink means the Dooke's on knee-deep velvet
that a-way, pulls a roll of money from his jeans.
"'I beg pardon, sir/ says the valet; "ere's the money,
sir. They didn't 'ave the gold, sir; I 'opes the bills '11 do.'
"'Certainly!' says the Dooke, takin' the roll plenty
lofty; 'bills or gold, it's all the same.'
"The Dooke runs through the bundle ten five-
hundred-dollar notes, an' passes it over to Cherokee.
"'That makes good/ says he.
"'Not yet it don't!'
"It's Nell who interferes Nell who, comin* in on the
heels of the valet, now rounds herse'f up at Cherokee's
shoulder. As she takes charge of the sityooation, she
pushes the money back to the Dooke.
"'Beg pardon, Miss!' observes the Dooke; an', for
all his bluff front, a frightened look drifts across his face.
'Beg pardon; but I reely don't onderstand!'
'"You don't?' repeats Nell, her eye some scornful.
Then to Cherokee: 'That tin-horn bandit of a valet
never offers no check to the Wells-Fargo folks. He goes
to the office, an' asks a fool question or two; but, so far
from cashin' any check, that worthless docyooment's
in his clothes right now. I'll bet a new bunnet this
titled horned-toad ain't got a centouse with the express
people. He's been handin' you an' me the old-thing.'
"Oh, I see!' says Cherokee, an' the glance he bestows
upon the Dooke is the kind that frequent ushers in a
fooneral. 'The notion ain't so bad, neither! This yere
noble hold-up writes a no-account check, an' sends it out
by his partner; who strolls about, goes as far as the express
offices for the looks of the thing an* to kill time proper,
an* returns. An* the idee's this: If you wins' turnin'
to the Dooke direct 'you gives him the office, an* he
reports the check cashed. If you're behind, you signs
him up to that effect. Perceivin' which, he's sorry, but
is obleeged to say the express people ain't received no
instructions none as yet, an' turns the check down. Thar
bein* no money forth-comin', accordin' to the onderstand-
in' win or lose, the play don't go. It's a beautiful
scheme a scheme where my only chance is to lose, an'
your only chance is to win I '
"'Me dear sir,' chatters the Dooke, 'this is Greek to
me! I don't onderstand it at all! James!'
"Thar's no 'James'; the valet's faded.
; "An' shows his sense!' remarks Boggs.
"'You don't savey?' repeats Cherokee. 'All you
needs is a five thousand dollar roll, a English accent,
a imitation valet, an' a blinded come-on like me, an*
your fortune's made! I've been imposed upon a heap
of ways, but this yere wrinkle's new complete. Come;
set in those chips! While you can't have my money,
as a lesson to myse'f , seein' how close you comes to landin'
me, I'm goin' to let you deepart with the honors of war
your life and your bank-roll.'
"Cherokee counts the Dooke's chips back into the
check-rack, an the count shows he has the game beat
for clost onto fifteen thousand dollars.
"'You come mighty near makin' a killin', Dooke!'
remarks Boggs, who's listenin' an' lookin' on a heap in
THE LOOKING OUT OF FARO NELL
"The Dooke is murmurin' onder his breath about
how he 'don't onderstand,' when Cherokee cuts him
"'Yere!' exclaims Cherokee; 'go with Jack Moore
to the Wells-Fargo people; an', if they cashes your check,
I'll make good this yere fifteen thousand dollars worth
of chips twice over. But thar's this proviso: If the
Wells-Fargoes don't come down, you'll shore find some
one shootin' at you with two guns at once.'
"Not bein' locoed, the Dooke don't take Cherokee's
proffer, but makes a gesture like he's the victim of mis-
"'You better hit the trail a lot!' says Enright to the
Dooke, as that member of the House of Lords hesitates
about the Red Light door. 'For while this yere's a
idle sort o' afternoon, an' I don't feel much like goin'
through the labors of a lynchin', the idee of swingin'
off a nobleman is far from bein' reepellant. It's my
opinion, should some member of the stranglers make a
motion to that effect, it'd carry yoonanimous. As
I su'gests, Dooke, you'd better hit the trail!'
"An' havin' hit it, don't stop goin', neither!' warns
Jack Moore. 'Keep forgin' right ahead ontil you're
miles beyond the confines of this camp. The game
law's out on dookes, an' if you stays loiterin' round, some
gent who's makin' a collection'll take to bombardin'
you up by way of addin' you to his mooseyum.'
"But where can I go?' pleads the Dooke, castin*
a despairin' glance about, like he's seekin' to locate that
'"Go to Red Dog,' breaks in Boggs; 'they'll be
tickled to death to see you over thar. If you beats that
gang of drunkards out of anything, you can keep it.
However, I don't much reckon you will, for as shore-
thing artists they're cap'ble of goin j some themselves.
Also, if you starts anything, an' them veterans in crime
ketches you at it, you're a gone fawnskin. Them Red
Dog outcasts ain't so leenient as Cherokee yere/
"'However do you come to think of it, Nell?' asks
Cherokee later. ' That wily stranger, with his little check
book, would have got by me like runnin' water!'
"'In my experience,' returns Nell, with the air of bein'
a hundred years old, 'bad checks an' bad manners goes
hand in hand. I knows what I thinks of this yere Dooke's
language, an' it strikes me I'll trail out after that valet
an' see what the express people thinks of his signachoor.'
'"Well/ says Cherokee, snappin' the deck in the box
for another deal, 'I ain't as a roole in favor of encouragin'
habits of s'picion in the very young; but in the present
instance, Nell, since it leaves you an' me them sev'ral
thousand kopecs to the good, it would shore seem far
fetched in me to go formyoolatin' any reproofs. In
short, I regyards it rather as a season for congratyoola-
tions; in which sperit I yereby apprises our honored bar-
keep that the camp's honin' to yoonite in a libation to
your health. Jack,' concloods Cherokee, motionin'
to Black Jack, 'as the Ganymede of the establishment
the rest reemains with you."
THE OFF-WHEELER OFFENDS
SPEAKIN' of Cherokee holdin' them views as to
a footure life," observed the Old Cattleman,
feeling for the lemon peel in his glass, " I'm
bound to say that personal I ain't religious none; leastwise
in the church sense, ownin' no talents tharfor. Also, as a
roole, I prefers doin' good to doin' right. The gent who
does right is thinkin' of himse'f ; the gent who does good
is thinkin' of others which is a heap better for hooman-
ity. No, I'm not religious; an' yet, if ever I'm inclined
to doubt the eff'cacy of religion, them changes wrought
in the Off- Wheeler makes said doubts reedic'lous.
"Is Wolfville religious? you asks. While its relig
ious feelin* is some latent, you can bet your pony an'
throw the saddle in, Wolfville is a Christain commoonity.
I makes this announcement confident; because, when a
obtroosive proflagate comes weavin' over from Red Dog,
allowin' he's a atheist, Boggs is thar with all four hoofs
to call his bluff.
"We're playin' poker at the time, Boggs jugglin' the
deck. ' An' so, ' says Boggs, pausin' in mid-deal, as this
pagan person decl'res himse'f as sech, * you're one of them
cunnin' tarrapins who don't believe in nothin'?'
, "That's whatever!' retorts the Red Dog pagan,
mighty sprightly. 'Go on with the deal; I ain't got but
" 'The same bein' all you're goin' to get,' returns Boggs,
tossin' the deck onto the table an' shovin' back his cha'r.
'Do you-all reckon I'd set across from an outcast who
denies the trooths of Holy Writ? Not if I holds four
kings an* a ace perpetyooal.'
"The balance of the outfit follows Boggs' smoke;
Cherokee Hall bars the onbeliever at faro-bank, the Red
Light refooses him licker, an' Missis Rucker gives it out
cold that, if she only receives word in time, she'd have
shore pinched down on his grub. In less space then it
takes to rope an' hawgtie a steer, he's 'ostracised/ as
Doc Peets calls it. Which that ostracism works, too;
an* it so deepresses the Red Dog pagan that, next mornin'
at sun-up, he pulls his subdooed an' ondeemonstrative
freight. Shore, he goes back to Red Dog; where, sur
rounded by that passel of Ishmaels which is its citizens,
he ondoubted feels as much at home as a drunkard at
"It's as well he makes that get-away plenty prompt;
for the idee of him bein' a atheist, gets so proned into
Boggs that, by third drink time, the sight of him would
have brought on a religious war. Boggs goes so far as to
tell Old Man Enright, that, in his pore, sinful estimation,
it's our dooty as a camp to paint up for a croosade ag'in
Red Dog, her harborin' sech heathen. Enright, how
ever, allows they're protected by the constitootion, an'
so Boggs simmers down.
"An' I'm yere to remark that the subsequent doin's
THE OFF- WHEELER OFFENDS
of this pagan person jestifies the elevation of Wolfville's
attitoode. It ain't more'n months when he sticks up
the stage over by the Whetstone Springs, an' prounces
on the mail-bag an' the Wells-Fargo box felonious.
"'You-all takes it from me/ says Boggs, when he's
told of the coach bein' rustled, ' them atheists is all hold
ups in their hearts. Which they'd every man jack of
'em be out workin' the trails right now, only thar ain't
mail-bags an' express boxes to go 'round.'
"From the stand we takes in the case of this yere Red
Dog pagan, you-all sees that, onderneath the surface like
a streak of ore, Wolfville is rich in religious feelin'. It's
dormant, merely, because none of them evangelical en
gineers has come pirootin' along, to sink a shaft an'
"For one brief moment, an' one only, is the gospel
torch set blazin' in our midst. An' of all folks, it's the
Off- Wheeler who lights it up! That it's him proves as
amazin' as a cow on a front porch. Doc Peets himse'f
speaks of it as a ' pheenomenon : ' an' when it comes to
readin' the brands on a pheenomenon, an* readin' 'em
right, I'll back Peets ag'in entire Arizona. I've said
freequent that he's the best eddicated scientist in the
Territory, an' I only desires to add at this eepock that
the statement goes for the limit, with any gent who feels
"This yere Off- Wheeler has been hankerin' 'round
Wolfville, mebby it's six months, before he takes to
jumpin' sideways religious that a-way. His days is
spent vibratin' between the Red Light an' the O. K.
Restauraw, with now an' then a evenin' at the dance hall.
Not that he ever shakes a festive laig at the latter * Temple
of Harmonious Mirth/ as Hamilton is fond of callin' the
same; not that he becomes gala in any polkas, or waxes
circooitous in any walses, or loosens the floor boards in
any quadrilles. Is he too old ? I don't reckon now he's
overtook thirty years as yet; but, commonly, he's too
seedate to dance, which is to say he's too drunk. Ine
briated gents is plenty out o' place in a quadrille, though
some of 'em frequent holds contrary views. As to the
Off- Wheeler; he never falls into no sech error. His
licker, instead of renderin' him vivacious, sort o' bogs
him down; realizin' which, he ain't that fool-minded as to
go lapsin' into the dizzy whirl as a performer.
"It's from Black Jack, with whom he's more or less
free across the Red Light counter, that I gleans what
little I saveys concernin' the Off- Wheeler. It looks
like his folks don't want him East none; an', I must say,
no gent who makes a study of the quantity of Old Jordan
he consoomes, is obleeged to ask the reasons why. Old
Monte, for years, is the offishul drunkard of Wolfville;
an* yet that Off-Wheeler boy comes rollickin' along,
an' wrests the bacchanalian laurels from Old Monte's
brow, as easy as if that dipsomaniac has only learned the
taste of licker yesterday!
"Of course, the latter sot is thar with his yoosual
excuses, an' p'ints out that his deebauches is necessarily
interrupted, him havin' to sober up s'fficient to take
out the stage. The Off- Wheeler, he says, with no stage
to drive, an' no mail-bag an' express box reespons'bilities,
THE OFF-WHEELER OFFENDS
has the advantage. Still it's the expert Wolfville view,
beginnin' with Dave Tutt an' goin' to Enright, that
with the stage coach left out entire Old Monte never
stands a chance. That pore old profligate wouldn't
be ace high ag'in the Off- Wheeler in nose-paint competi
tions. Which the Mohave desert is a swamp compared
to the latter artist, he's that onslaked.
"While none of us deems ill of the Off-Wheeler,"
continued the old gentleman, pouring a reflective three
fingers of his favorite refreshment, "the only party about
the camp who reely loves him is Black Jack. The
trooth is him bein' commonly dulled by drink that a-way
none of the rest of us gets much acquainted with him.
Also, from a bashful habit he deevelops, of hoppin' out
the door every time a gent starts some triflin' gun-play,
the belief gains ground that he's 'most too timid for Ari
zona. This nacherally don't he'p his standin' none, in a
camp where the only aristocracy is the aristocracy of nerve.
"'The trouble with him, gents,' explains Jack, at-
temptin' the Off- Wheeler's rescoo as to that question of
nerve, 'is he's gun-shy. It's because he's over-bred,
him comin' from a bloo-blood family. You notices the
same thing in dogs that's bred too fine/
" None of us regyards this theery of Jack's as possessin'
signif'cance, or provin' anything except he's so foolish
fond of the Off-Wheeler it obscoores his jedgement.
" You see Jack has a moosical ear, an' the Off- Wheeler
can shore sing a whole lot. It's his singin' which biases
Jack. Evenin's, when trade is slack at the Red Light,
Jack an' the Off- Wheeler frequent finds themselves
alone. Jack'll be lightin' up the karosene lamps, or
mebby teeterin' 'round turnin' down them that smokes.
Feelin' lonesome, he'll request the Off- Wheeler to sing
Home, Sweet Home. Which that victim of rum never
refooses, but, cl'arin' his valves with another hooker,
allers cuts loose.
"The strange thing, considerin' how Jack himse'f
goes honin' for said madrigal, is it's shore to make that
drink-mixer weep. He's a mighty sentimental barkeep,
Jack is, an', every time the Off- Wheeler hands him Home,
Sweet Home, he shorely does shed tears profoose.
"An' yet I regyards them lamentations as to Jack's
credit; the more, when I finds out he never has no home
as he, himse'f, confesses to me private. I'm sayin'
how them childhood's scenes which surrounds his yooth
must have been hotbeds of affectionate peace, to make
him feel like he does.
"'That's it!' he returns, gulpin' down a sob, an'
swabbin' off the bar hysterical; 'my yooth goes onnursed
of any home outside a cow camp. Which is why I
howls when I hears that ballad! You sports, who've
had homes, of course don't mind.'
"It's in Tucson the Off- Wheeler is took religious that
time; an' the very way he comes to shift his blankets to
said meetropolis, looks of itse'f like the movin' of the hand
of Providence. He slides over to Tucson by request of
Hamilton, who is that maddened about business troubles
of which the Off- Wheeler is the onintentional bug onder
the chip he says he's afraid of what may ensoo if the
Off- Wheeler stays in sight.
THE OFF-WHEELER OFFENDS
"'It's not, I confess, for me,' says Hamilton, 'to go
forcin' a gent to migrate, wharf ore I puts this on personal
grounds entire. I reequests you, merely as gent to gent,
to vamos for Tucson, ontil sech times as I gets my feel-
in's bedded down. It's odds on, if you-all remains where
I can see you, an* me aggravated the way I be, it'll bring
on 'motional insanity, onder the inflooence of which I'll
jest about shoot you up a lot. Tharfore, I begs as a
favor that you jump over to Tucson, ontil my wounds
is healed an' this yere fit wears off/
" No one blames Hamilton partic'lar for makin' these
suggestions, for he's shore suffered a heap. Besides,
he's by nacher as nervous a party as Boggs, an' as much
a slave to the emotions. On the other hand, we don't
exactly go trackin' 'round condemnin' the Off- Wheeler
neither. It's askin' too much of a gent, an' him a tender
foot, to expect him to stay planted where most likely
he'll get all shot up, over issues wharin he has no interest.
" At that, as Texas Thompson, who sort o' leans to the
Hamilton side, says, thar's right ways an' wrong ways
to go eelim'natin' of yourse'f from other gents' wars;
an', when the Off-Wheeler, in gettin' out from between
Doc Holiday who's payin' us a friendly visit an' an
offensive sport from Prescott, almost t'ars the side out
o' the dance hall, he somewhat oversteps.
" Whatever is the trouble ? It's this a-way : It begins
by the Prescott party, in a mood of roode exyooberance,
tanglin' up his spurs in the trooseau of Holiday's partner,
who's floatin' by in a Pocatello reel. Holiday, with that,
starts in to teach the Prescott party what's due a lady
with his six-shooter. Shore; Holiday is right! The
first dooty of a gent is to rebooke vulgarity.
"Now the Off- Wheeler, inadvertent, is in the line of
fire; an', when the lead begins to sing, he takes it on the
run. But he don't make for the front door which is
the public's; he heads for the orchestra's private door.
"Moosicians in Arizona is some sparse. The Dutch
man with the big riddle, Hamilton freights in from twelve
hundred miles away, an' pays five hundred dollars for.
In a sperit of proodence, Hamilton plants his high-priced
troobadours by a side door, so they can skip out safe in
case of gun-playin' an' war-dancin' on the floor. His
arrangements would have been perfect, only it befalls
that when Holiday an' the Prescott boor hooks up, the
Off- Wheeler, in his frenzied rush for the orchestra's pri
vate door, mounts an' walks down the virchuoso with the
big fiddle, an' leaves 'em both a wreck. That invalyoo-
able big fiddle is redooced to toothpicks! No wonder
it locoes Hamilton!
"'It's not the Dutchman I bewails,' says Hamilton,
* but wherever am I to get another doghouse voylin ? '
"While the Off- Wheeler comes in for a modicum of
disrepoote because of this eepisode, opinion as stated
don't all run one way. The day the Off-Wheeler
leaves, as Texas Thompson goes to criticism' him over
the layout to Cherokee, Faro Nell, who's on the lookout
stool where she belongs, cuts in for the Off- Wheeler.
" 'Which I don't think/ says Nell,takin' the words out
o' Cherokee's mouth, 'that that Off- Wheeler boy is
none to blame. The Prescott person is actin' like he's
THE OFF- WHEELER OFFENDS
out to down everybody in the room he's shootin* so
difoose. Jim Hamilton's no business to go to ghost-
"'Straighten up them chips on the eight/ observes
Cherokee, across to Texas.
"Cherokee aims to change the subject, but Nell don't
heed him more'n if he's the wind that blows.
"' You bet, I'll shore tell Jim Hamilton what I thinks,'
she goes on, pickin' up a stack Texas has jest lost
on the trey; 'an' so'll Missis Rucker. The idee of
him trackin' 'round permiscus, about a measly old
"Texas an' Cherokee says nothin'; it ain't lucky to go
"The Off- Wheeler's been in Tucson two weeks, an'
none of us is thinkin' of him partic'lar, when of a sudden
Old Monte brings the word. Which we-all sees thar's
something in the wind, long before the stage reaches town,
from the fuss the old reprobate is raisin*. He's pourin'
the leather into the six horses, an' sendin' 'em to beat four
of a kind.
" ' Mebby it's a lady/ says Boggs, watchin' the nearin'
dust-cloud, an' givin' a extra cock to his Chihuahua hat.
'That bond slave of alcohol allers keeps his team up
ag'inst the bit, when thar's a lady aboard.'
"But it ain't no lady; thar's nobody in the stage save
sev'ral pale he-towerists, who seems pleased to get shet
of sech drivin'.
"It's in the Red Light, where he goes to rinse the thirst
out o' his mouth, Old Monte onfurls what's happened.
Also, he's most onfeelin' slow gettin' started. Now
he's with us, his headlong dust-raisin' haste disappears ;
he measures out his forty drops that deeliberate, thar
ain't one of us don't eetch to beat in his head with a gun.
Boggs, who's as inquisitive as a pet b'ar, at last can
no longer reestrain his cur'osity.
"'Smoke up thar, you old prairie dog!' he roars.
' Is it a killin' ? Does any of them Tucson horned toads
"'Beefed?' repeats Old Monte, contempchoous,
settin' down his glass; 'it's a mighty sight awfuller than
that! The Off- Wheeler's j'ined the church.'
"'What!' shouts Boggs.
"'Moreover/ goes on Old Monte, after the informa
tion trickles into us, 'he's plottin' to come down on this
devoted outfit all spraddled out, my next trip back from
Tucson, an' preach a heap. He allows he'll show us our
sins as in a lookin '-glass; which them's his words,
gents! "Wolfville experiences me at my worst; she
shall now behold me at my best!" says he.'
"'So he's goin'to preach!' exclaims Texas Thompson.
'Well, if that don't beat a royal flush! Whatever is
this yere Off- Wheeler party thinkin' of ? Does he reckon
he's goin' to tree the camp in this onlicensed manner,
an' go promulgatin' doctrines?'
"'An' why not?' demands Boggs, who's pleased by
excitement. 'Ain't the Off- Wheeler a free immoral
agent? Which if this sheep that was lost an' is found
ag'in as parson Cartwright back in Missouri used to
say desires to be heard theological, it's up to us, in-
THE OFF- WHEELER OFFENDS
stead of obstructin' the play, to sort o' cosset it along.
I'm yere to say I'm with him for them services.'
"It's mighty likely Texas would have locked horns
with Boggs; but seem' that Enright an' Peets, with Dave
Tutt trailin', expresses themselves sim'lar he waives it.
"Black Jack, when he hears, is that delighted he
forgets his dooties as barkeep. Bein' reeproved by Peets,
he slams all his bottles on the bar, utterly reckless
"'It's on the house, gents!' he says. 'He'p your
selves hearty! Which I knowed the Off- Wheeler would
make you-all coyotes set up, once he struck his gait!'
"Old Monte, who don't propose to get lost in the
shuffle, takes up in deetail how the Off- Wheeler becomes
"'This is how it falls in, gents,' he explains. 'Thar's
a gospel sharp got a tent over thar, an* the way he's
holdin' forth is shore prodigious. Not that I goes ma-
raudin' 'round his game none myse'f, fearin' he might
get his runnin' iron onto me. Religion is ondoubted
all right; but it wouldn't blend happ'ly with stage drivin'.
Bein' younger, an' I might add drunker, this Off-Wheeler
ain't so discreet as me; an' he takes to idlin' 'round the
meetin's, till, bang! one evenin' when he's off his gyard,
he's roped an' throwed an' branded into life everlastin'
like crackin' off a Colt's-45.'
"'Does he tell you this himse'f ?' asks Enright.
"'It's the barkeep at the Oriental. He puts it up I
ought to ride over to that gospel herd, an' cut the Off-
Wheeler out a lot. I'm yere to say I don't see eevents
in that light. Some of the biggest hostiles in Tucson
is at them meetings on their knees, an* at the least sign of
me tamperin' with the Off- Wheeler, or tryin' to snake the
game, they'd have took enough of my ha'r to stuff a
cushion for the pulpit/
"'Still, you converses with the Off- Wheeler?' inter
"'Nothin' shorer!' says Old Monte. 'But, say!
I can tell they has him cinched with the first word I He
does all the talkin', calls me a lost soul personal, gives it
out that he himse'f is a brand snatched from the burnin',
an' final defies every gent, not of his way of thinkin',
as a emissary of evil. Seein' he's plumb beyond control,
I goes to the diskyard. Reply was useless, gents,' con-
tinyoos Old Monte, thinkin' mebby he needs defence.
'It would have been like talkin' to a sand storm the
Off- Wheeler's took that bad! Besides he ain't so tame
as he was. His air is grown brash an' cocky; an' he
might resent me tryin' to play his hand. Which I've
seen these yere reevivals in the states; an' thar's no fore-
tellin' what a gent will do, once he's filled with grace.'
"'Whatever,' says Dave Tutt, speakin' gen'ral, 'do
you reckon this Off- Wheeler strikes when he goes glancin'
off into religion this a-way?'
"'Mebby,' observes Boggs, 'it's the change of licker.
That Tucson nose-paint would make a jackrabbit insult
a coyote to his face.'
'"That's not it!' says Old Monte, emphatic; 'the
Off- Wheeler's as cold sober as a fish.'
'"Wouldn't that of itse'f explain it?' asks Texas
Thompson, appealin' to Peets in his role of scientist.
THE OFF-WHEELER OFFENDS
'Don't you figger, Doc, that stoppin' his Old Jordan on-
balances his mind?'
"Peets snaps his fingers at sech surmises, as much too
farfetched. In the end we-all settles down to wait;
by what Old Monte says, the Off- Wheeler's due to come
prancin' along poco tiempo, an' then the myst'ry envel-
opin* his doin's should begin to cl'ar up."
DURIN' the three days prior to the Off- Wheeler
showin' up, the camp don't talk of nothin' else.
He supplants faro-bank an' yoosurps whiskey
in the public mind. Enright an* Peets allows that his
holdin' services is a good scheme, as calk'lated to give
'em a splendid impression of us East.
"Besides/ adds Enright, 'thar's a roomer that Red
Dog is out to build a chapel. This'll show how, in mat
ters churchly as in all things else, Wolfville has simply
got that low-flung hamlet beat both ways from the jack.'
"When the day arrives, Boggs hints 'round that a
healthy notion would be to saddle up, an' meet the Off-
Wheeler with a friendly foosilade from our guns, by way
of welcome. Enright shakes his head.
" 'It might give the boy a skeer,' he says, 'an' stampede
him to the p'int where he abandons his idee of preachin'.
It's better to let him hit camp, as though his gettin' re
ligion's as commonplace as ground-owls.'
"Nacherally we takes our hunch from Enright, an'
when the stage pulls up at the post-office, an' the Off-
Wheeler eemerges tharfrom, we confines our demonstra
tions to sayin' 'Howdy!' He says 'Howdy!' back, an*
heads for Missis Rucker's.
" Presently Rucker comes across to say the Off- Wheeler
wants to see Enright. Then Jack Moore is sent for;
an' a little later Jack tacks up a notice in the Red Light,
settin' forth thar'll be church next day at two P. M.
"' That's the talk!' cries Black Jack, readin' the
notice aloud, some enthoosiastic. 'The Off- Wheeler's
no slouch! He's a wolf, an' it's his night to howl!'
"When Enright rej'ines us, he's smilin* wide an*
bland. 'Nothin' could be more sincere than that yooth/
he announces. 'I asks him whatever is his little game.
He explains that, after holdin' church among us this time,
he's goin' chargin' back to the States to study preachin*
as a reg'lar play, an' get himse'f ordained a shore-enough
divine. After which he figgers on settlin' down among us,
an' ridin' herd on our souls. Of course I tells him that
what he plans is bound to do him proud; an' that Wolf-
ville will be ever thar, for its bank roll, to back his
"Hearin' of the comin' meetin', the controllin' in-
flooence of the Bird Cage Op'ry House offers that edifice.
Enright, who's took to managin' for the Off- Wheeler,
deeclines with thanks. He lets on that the warehouse,
belongin' to the New York Store, will do better.
"It's smaller, an' tharfore cosier,' says Enright.
"Boggs an' Black Jack now takes hold strong. They
rolls in a drygoods box, an' spreads a red Navajo blanket
over it the same makin' a gorgeous pulpit. They totes
cha'rs from the O. K. Restauraw ontil you can't rest.
As a final break they packs over the pianny from the
dance hall Hamilton, who's gone into the racket to
the saddle girths, he'pin'. After that they rests from
"Texas Thompson evinces surprise at Hamilton
fomentin' this preachin', an' him wantin* to go gunnin'
for the Off- Wheeler, not three weeks before.
"'You see/ says Hamilton, in explanation, 'it's me
chasin' him out o' town, that a-way, which now impels
me to give him a boost. I'm preyed on by the feelin'
that I'm onjest to the Off- Wheeler. As makin' amends,
I turns in with moosicians an' pianny an* cha'rs, an*
strives to rib up these yere services, so's the same'll
be a howlin' vict'ry. Even if the Off- Wheeler does trom-
ple down my priceless dog-house voylin, I'm no gent to
b'ar malice; an* I acts accordin'!'
"For one hour before the services begins, Black Jack
an' Hamilton shets off on the sale of snake-jooce at the
Red Light an' the dance hall bars. It's Hamilton who
proposes, temp'rarily, to thus close down these em-
poriyums, Jack at the go-off hesitatin'.
"'Not from no low lust of gain/ says Jack; 'but I ain't
none certain a few fingers of Old Jordan, distributed
round in the flock, won't make it easier for the Off-
Wheeler. It might render 'em soft an' good-nachered,
an' not so prone to plant their moccasins an' hold back.'
"Hamilton possesses contrary beliefs. 'Let's send
the outfit in on a cold collar/ urges Hamilton. 'Then
they can protect themselves; an' afterward, if any of
'em is took religious, they can't blame no one but them
selves. Moreover, they won't be so apt to backslide.
It's safer for the repyootation of the Off- Wheeler as a
divine. It might be remembered ag'in him invidious,
if he brings some party to his knees, an' later that convert
goes romancin' off ag'in to eat sinful husks an* draff
with the swine.'
"Jack is so carried off his feet by this, he not only
coincides yoonanimous, but declar's on the quiet to Dave
Tutt that thar's depths in Hamilton's intellects hitherto
"At church time Boggs app'ints himse'f corral boss,
an' shows the folks their seats. Wolfville's best element
turns out in a body. Tucson Jennie, with her infant
Enright Peets Tutt, has a front cha'r by the side of Dave;
Missis Rucker, bringin' Rucker the latter lookin' sub-
dooed, but sore about bein' snatched from his refutch
among the Apaches is present; while scattered yere an'
thar is Cherokee, an' Faro Nell, an' Texas Thompson,
an' the rest. Black Jack an' Hamilton, actin' as look
outs an' case-keepers to Boggs reespective, takes seats in
"When everything is lined up, the Off- Wheeler,
packin' a giant Bible onder his arm, shows in the door.
Followed by Enright an' Peets, he p'rades up the middle
aisle an' goes into camp, all dignified, back of the dry-
goods box pulpit with its Navajo blanket cover. He
deeposits the scriptures in the middle of the red blanket
an' then turns to Enright.
"Nacherally, while these yere various an' sundry
steps is bein' took, we sizes up the Off- Wheeler. He
shore does appear reegenerated a whole lot, though most
likely a heap of that arises from gettin' the whiskey out
o' him. All the same he wears a game, noble look,
as though them draughts of troo religion has been like
the milk of mountain lions to him.
" ' When you all recalls what he was/ says Hamilton,
leanin' over to whisper in my y'ear, 'an' then sees what
he is, it jest does a sport good to look at him!'
"As the Off- Wheeler indulges in that preelim'nary
glance at Enright, Wolfville's old warchief gets up. ' No
one/ observes Enright, his eye rovin' mildly about the
room, 'will misonderstand me bein' yere. Brother
Hawkins, formerly an* favorably known among us as the
Off- Wheeler, has asked me to preeside, an* I gladly yields ;
the more cheerful, since Brother Peets consents to
support my ignorance by his urbane countenance an*
sagacious counsel. Should I strike a quicksand crossing
an* seem at any time in peril of boggin' down, Brother
Peets will be on hand to pull me through. These ser
vices' yere Enright consults a kyard, whereon the rootine
of the proceedings has been framed up in the nacher of
a programme 'will commence by that celebrated canta-
trice, Sister Sophy Silverthorne of the Bird Cage Op'ry
House, leadin' us in Rock of Ages.'
"As Enright resoomes his cha'r, the whole band of us
Hamilton's pianny player, seated at that instrooment,
beatin' out the 'companyment onder the lead of Miss
Silverthorne, lifts up our voices in the hymn. Boggs
throws his heart into it to that reesoundin' extent, that
Red Dog sends over a rum-soaked miscreant to ask
what's wrong. No; you can go your ultimate chip this
insultin' emissary don't deevelop his real mission none.
He comes projectin' 'round the door towards the finish;
but we never do know what brings him thar for over a
month. Bogg's language is sech as to kill an acre of
grass when he learns; but it's too late to get reesentful
"On the hocks of that Rock of Ages hymn, the Off-
Wheeler announces he'll open the deal with pray'r.
We sinks our heads a heap deevout, for we wants to show
we're wise to the proper caper. The Off- Wheeler
begins to pour forth. He prays for Wolfville, for Arizona,
an' at last incloods mankind at large in his orisons. I
never does behold a more creditable seige of the throne,
since last I sees the Cumberland.
"Also, I holds now as I holds then that if the Off-
Wheeler had stuck to glitterin' gen'ralities, the meetin'
would have gone from soda to hock without a murmur
of discord. Mind you, I don't say that even as the
kyards come out o' the box, it ain't for the best.
"After exhaustin' the sityooation, along what Peets
calls 'broader lines,' the Off- Wheeler begins petitionin'
for people speshul. As a starter, he hurls himse'f loose
for Hamilton; an' the way he lays open the shortcomin's
of that onforchoonate gent is shore s'fficient to make a
graven image ketch its breath. The Off- Wheeler never
misses a trick. On he surges, t'arin' away at pore Hamil
ton without reference to the weave of the cloth.
"Although it's in the middle of the pray'r, where the
current's swiftest an' the channel deepest, Hamilton
struggles to his feet.
"I rises to a question of privilege,' says Hamilton,
addressin' Enright, who's contemplatin' him mighty
* ' Brother Hamilton will state his question of privilege,'
responds Enright, beatin' on the pulpit with the butt
of his sixshooter, him havin' no reg'lar gavel.
"'Which I objects/ says Hamilton, 'to statements
concernin' myse'f personal, as calk'lated to queer me on
high. They exceeds the limit; I asks the protection of
'"The cha'r/ retorts Enright, 'passin* on Brother
Hamilton's objections, over-rooles the same. Thar is
no limit to pray'r. Every gent, addressin' the Infinite,
does so with the bridle off.'
"'Let the cha'r b'ar with me for one further word/
returns Hamilton, turnin' sort o' ugly. 'I yields to the
tyrannical dictum of the cha'r. At the same time I
desires to state that, although I not only assists in pro-
motin* this meetin', but appears yere in a lib'ral if not a
contrite sperit, I shall now hold the Off- Wheeler respons
ible with a gun, as soon as the contreebution box is
"'The cha'r is obleeged/ observes Enright, speakin'
haughty, 'to inform Brother Hamilton that the threats
jest made is neither in good nor proodent taste. Brother
Hamilton must realize that Brother Hawkins, otherwise
the Off- Wheeler, is oncap'ble, as a member of the clergy,
of callin' his wicked bluffs. Also, I promises the brother
that if he onlimbers in any smoky plays, or takes to
shootin' up our pastor in sinful manner an' form as by
him set forth, the male part of the congregation will
deescend upon him like a tornado, me in the avengin'
van. Brother Hawkins will resoome his appeals, on-
terrified of these menaces; leavin' Brother Hamilton to
that repentance an* hoomility of heart, which I'm shore
my words should prodooce.'
"It's then the onexpected happens; an' it goes a long
ways toward promootin' confidence in the Off- Wheeler's
ministrations. As Enright ceases, an' while Boggs an'
Black Jack snortin' challenges to Hamilton are tryin'
to cut in on the play, the Off- Wheeler demands to be
"'Thankin' the cha'r,' says that amatoor clergyman,
'for its generous adherence to the good cause, I desires
to submit that I freely recognizes the rights of Brother
Hamilton, an' shall be pleased to make good my pulpit
utterances in the carnal way he outlines. If the cha'r
will pass me its gun, I not packin' sech hardware, holdin'
it to be the trinketry of Loocifer, I shall hope to convince
Brother Hamilton of the error of his ways. The congre
gation will take a recess of ten minutes. Meanwhile we
will reepair to the street, where I trusts to settle this con
troversy to the glory of Zion.'
"'But do you-all reckon it looks well, in one whose
mission is peace?' asks Enright, some scandalized.
'"Thar is script'ral preecedent;' declar's the Off-
Wheeler. 'Have I not the example of Joshua, of David,
of Saul ? all men of war! An' of Abner, who smote his
enemy onder the fifth rib; an' of Peter, who struck off the
y'ear? Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly
upwards! Also, fear not for the safety of your shepherd.
Brother Hamilton is some soon with a gun; but, behold,
I rely on One that taketh the wise in their own craftiness
even upon Him that maketh the deep to boil like a pot! '
"As the congregation files out, Boggs pushes up to the
Off- Wheeler. 'Mebby,' whispers Boggs, 'you'd better
let me represent. Bein' inyoored to these shindigs,
I most likely pulls off a finish more fav'rable to the
"'Nay/ returns the Off- Wheeler, who is all keyed up,
'I shall even rebooke this son of Jeshurun, who I per
ceive waxeth fat an' kicks ! He is like the deaf adder that
stoppeth her ear; which will not hearken to the voice of
charmers, charming never so wisely! Yea, I shall show
him how man's days are as grass! as a flower of the
field so he flourisheth!'
"Outside in the street, the Off- Wheeler an' Hamilton
takes their distance, the congregation makin' a rank
of admiration on the sidewalk. Enright gives the word
by droppin' his sombrero. Hamilton shoots a little wide,
while the Off- Wheeler gets Hamilton in the thick of the
"How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy taber
nacle, O Israel!' sings the Off- Wheeler, as he returns
Enright his gun.
"We-all goes back to our seats in the sanctchooary,
Enright preesidin' as before, an' the Off- Wheeler takes
up his supplications where Hamilton interrupts.
"When the pray'r is done, Peets, with Boggs an'
Black Jack, comes trailin' in from the O. K. House, to
which hostelry they packs Hamilton, followin' the shootin'.
"'How is my injured parishoner?' asks the Off-
"'Speakin' as his medical adviser/ says Peets, ' I should
say he'll be hobblin' about in less'n a week. Contin-
yooin' as a fellow worker in the vineyard, I adds that I
leaves him in a tem'perate an* eddifyin' frame. He
asks me to say that he reckons you're right about the
proper scope of pray'r.'
"' Brother Hamilton is a lib'ral soul!' says the Off-
Wheeler, a heap pleased. 'Yea, I shall visit him! Per-
adventure, I shall show him where it is written that the
liberal soul shall be made fat!' Then, turnin' to us:
'Oh, my hearers, how good an' how pleasant it is for
brethren to dwell together in yoonity!'
"The pianny the hymn bein' given out strikes up,
Miss Silverthorne puts herself in the vocal lead, an' we-
all goes riotin' off on We're Goin' Home to Die no More,
Boggs distinguishin' himse'f as prior, his tones resemblin'
a wronged buffalo bull's. After the song, the Off- Wheeler
reads his text: 'Is not the gleaning of the grapes of
Ephraim, better than the vintage of Abi-ezer ? ' Which
the sermon is a jo-darter, Wolfville figgerin' as ' the vintage
"When the contreebution box is passed by Boggs, the
same bein' Peet's hat, Hamilton, to show he's with us,
sends over a 20-dollar gold piece.
"'This is strength made perfect in weakness!' cries
the Off-Wheeler joobilantly, as Hamilton's donation
comes jinglin' in. 'I have lighted a candle of under-
standin' in his heart, which shall not be put out!'
" As the last note of the doxology is sung, we-all crowds
forward to congratchoolate the Off- Wheeler.
"Enright is the first to take his hand. 'Which I talks
for all/ observes Enright, speakin' so every one can hear,
' when I says that pluggin' Brother Hamilton is the most
excellent element in the ceremonies. Nothin' could
have happened better, nothin' gone half so far towards
convincin' this commoonity of the genyooineness of your
preachments. That little gun play falls in plumb right.
When you return, the incident will make your callin'
an' election shore. I shall yereafter think better of my
six-shooter/ drawin* the weepon, an* lookin' it over
approvingly 'for its share in spreadin' gospel trooths, an*
the part it plays in Brother Hamilton's conversion. ' "
WHICH Enright," remarked the old gentleman,
blowing a judgmatical cloud, " bein' the con-
trollin' inflooence of that engine of Wolfville
joorisproodence, the stranglers, allers takes to himse'f
the reespons'bility of lettin' Bismark Dutch go that time.
Shore, no; that ain't the old cimarron's name, none what
ever! We simply ups an* hails him as 'Bismark Dutch'
by way of identification. 'Bismark' would have been
s'fficient by itse'f, only thar's another shorthorn from the
Rhine, over in Colton, who's called 'Bismark;' wharf ore
we-all affixes 'Dutch', in order, as Doc Peets says, 'to
"After Bismark Dutch has done pulled his freight,
Enright is accustomed now an' then to wax quer'lous
about him with himse'f.
"'By every roole of right, Doc,' he'd say for he levels
these yere views at Peets ' by every roole of right, that
Tootonic maverick's doo to be swung off. It's a lapse
of jestice to let him go, an' shore shows I'm gettin' old.
That I does it on account of his locoed girl, so far from
excoosin' sech weakness, merely goes to prove I'm gettin'
"Gen'rally, we-all don't say nothin' in response,
Peets an' the rest of us holdin' private it's only Enright's
affectations. Wolfville's old chief has his vanities, same
as other gents, an' he likes to let on his bein' soft-hearted
that a-way is a deefect.
"Not but what thar's limits, iron-bound an* onbreak-
able, which goes with Enright's moll'fications. If it's
a lady, or a baby, or mebby some weak an' hopeless sport
who's been settin' in hard luck, he's as soft an* easy as a
goose-ha'r pillow. It's different a whole lot when some
maraudin' form of murderer pulls off a killin' cold, an*
mebby does it from the r'ar. Then he's that hard he'd
"'It shows the diff'rence, Doc,' Enright'd go on,
' between a vig'lance committee an' a shore enough court.
Now a court sticks to law, an' don't go pirootin' off to
one side sympathetic. But a vig'lance committee, spesh-
ully when some of the members is gettin' on in years an'
beginnin' to slip their grip, is plenty prone to let their
hearts run off with their heads. An' so,' he'd conclood
with a sigh, 'public int'rest goes ungyarded an* exact
jestice gets the blind staggers.'
"'Oh, I don't know,' Peets'd say, expostchoolatin',
at the same time winkin' at Boggs or Cherokee, to let 'em
savey he's only carryin' on the conversation so's to give
Enright's se'f approval a chance to relax 'round a little
'oh, I don't know, Sam! Lettin' a gent go onswung,
by virchoo of his folks an' their feelin's, is a mighty
reason'ble reason. You ups an' hangs a party! Next
day, the play's the same to him as though it never comes
off. Not so his folks. S'ppose he has a mother now?
Her pore old sensibilities continyoos sweatin' blood
till the closin' of her days. Once a year, when the aw
ful date comes round, it's all to go through ag'in for her.
An* so, heart-broke an' stricken, she keeps bleedin' away
her life. For which said causes, I holds vig'lance com
mittees has got regular triboonals beat to a stand-still,
seein' they takes sech argyooments as that pore old
mother into consideration.'
"Enright after listenin' to the above'd shake his head,
like he's tryin' to feel resigned. Then he'd sigh ag'in
plenty dolorous, an' say: 'Mebby you're right, Doc;
mebby you're right!' an' all plumb broken-sperited.
After which he'd brace up mighty fierce, an' turn on
Black Jack with, ' Whatever do you reckon we're ha'ntin'
about the Red Light for?'
"This yere'd close the talk on that p'int, an* as Black
Jack, some conscience stricken, shoves up the bottles,
we shifts to other topics.
"None of us ever gets to know much about Bismark
Dutch; an' Who he is ? an' What he is ? an' Why he is ?
constitootes a list concernin' which Wolfville wrangles
over unto this day. Boggs, the first flash out o' the box,
allows he's a hermit. Wharupon, Tutt p'ints out pos'-
tive that he can't be no hermit, because his daughter's
"' Hermits that a-way Dan,' declar's Tutt, 'never has
no children an' always dwells alone. Which it's essen-
shul to hermits to dwell alone.' Folio win' these yere
announcements, Tutt promulgates a theory Bismark
Dutch is a exile. ' Take my steer for it,' says he, ' they've
been layin' for him in the old country to put him over
the big jump, by reason of p'litical crimes; an* nacherally,
him not bein' born yesterday, he seeks refooge as a exile
"Tutt's explanation gains adherents, ontil one day
when Bismark Dutch comes romancin' into Wolfville
on a mule it's the single time he visits us an', after
tankin' up successful, reetires singin' a ballad which
Peets calls Die Wacht am Rhine, the same bein' the
Dutch Star Spangled Banner. His carollin' this yere
madrigal don't sound like he's a p'litical refyoogee much,
but on the contrary shows him an' his gov'ment to be
as thick as thieves. Which last knocks Tutt's theery
about him bein' a exile on the head.
"For myse'f I never agrees with either Tutt or Boggs.
Nor yet with the stage company, when they claims
Bismark Dutch is a holdup, or at least has struck a
cache where long-ago route agents has done hid their
loot. The gold he exhibits in Tucson, when stiffenin'
his hand as to flour, syrup, salt-hoss an' air-tights, is
every splinter Spanish money, each piece more'n seventy
years old. The stage company never handles no sech
lucre; an' to go chargin' 'round, hintin' as how that
dinero is theirs, crowds mighty clost to the preepost'rous.
"My own notion, upheld by somethin' more than
roomer, is that Bismark Dutch comes scoutin' for buried
treasure from the jump. The line I gets is he's last from
Chihuahua, over in Mexico, where he's been sent by
some Dutch outfit of learnin' to write a book about the
Greasers. Some'ers in his pokin' about, he's crossed up
with word, most likely written word, about them Span
ish yellow boys. At which he lets go all holds, deecends
on Arizona all spraddled out, an* exhoomes the
" Which the utmost space Bismark Dutch is camped
within the shadow of our protection, don't measure up
three months. Not that said protectin' shadow is plumb
deep, seein' he sityooates himse'f a day's ride away,
over at the Tucson end of the canyon. It's the
mercy of hell, added to aboriginal forbearance, that he
emerges from sech residence onskelped. I reckon at
that the Apaches comes round frequent an' looks him
over for the mountains is full of 'em that a-way but
passes him an' his daughter up as cripples an' loonatics.
He himse'f is part paralyzed, his left arm hangin' loose
an' dead; an' as for the girl, even a Apache makes out at a
glance how she's as topsey-turvey mental as a mountain
sheep. Shore! Injuns never molests cripples an' crazy
folks, regyardin' 'em as onder the speshul gyardianship
of the Great Sperit. It's one of a Injun's few redeemin'
"We learns first of Bismark Dutch from Old Monte.
Over to the north end of the canyon, an' west of the
trail, stands a little old stone wickeyup. The name it goes
by, when we alloods to it, is the 'Mexican Rock House.'
It's constructed by reemote Mexicans, so long back no
white gent ever makes even a guess as to when. All
we knows is it's thar when we trails in, an' no one livin'
ill it; an', since no one's that feeble-witted as to want to
live in it an' the hills swarmin' with Injuns, it remains
onokepied ontil this reedic'lous Bismark Dutch comes
" Old Monte regales us one evenin' with a yarn about
some pecooliar party goin' into camp in the Mexican Rock
House. It seems he crosses up with Bismark Dutch,
prowlin' about on the trail, as he's bringin' in the stage.
"'But since this nondeescript talks in a onknown
tongue/ says Old Monte, 'I can't make out what he's
drivin' at more'n if its Chinee. Which it's obv'ous he's
as crazy as a woman's watch. Thar's a girl, too darter
most likely as wild an' shy as a mule-eared deer. I'd
shore say she's as locoed as her old man.'
"'Is she pretty?' asks Faro Nell.
"'She ain't no lamp of beauty, Nell,' says Old Monte.
'Mebby she'd look sweeter if she's fatted up, bein' as
fleshless that a-way as my whip-stock.'
"We-all don't attach no weight to Old Monte's re
marks about Bismark Dutch an' his daughter bein'
locoed, by reason of his licker. Not that we're likely to
go saddlin' up an' ridin' round permiscus, even if we
does. A gent's free to be crazy in Arizona, if he so pre
fers. So long as his vagaries don't take the form of
stickin' up the stage, or brandin' another gent's calves, or
stealin' his ponies, or holdin' six kyards in a friendly game,
public feelin* puts no queries.
"'What for a lookin' tarrapin is this remark'ble
squatter ? ' asks Peets, who likes to listen to Old Monte
'"Which he's hidjeous approachin' horned toads!'
returns Old Monte, sloppin* out another drink.
"'Horned toads?' repeats Peets. 'Horned toads
is all right, so you knows your toads/
"'What I means is this/ replies Old Monte sort o'
irritated, thinkin' Peets is jeerin' at him. 'He's got a
onfav'rable gnurllyfied lookin' face, same as you sees
kyarved on the far ends of fiddles. Besides, he's all
broke down on his nigh side by palsy or something that
left wing of his'n ain't in play more'n a rotten bean
"When, later, Bismark Dutch comes rackin' along
into Wolfville mule-back, we sizes him up for ourselves.
He goes over to Red Dog the same day, an' it's as if he's
takin' stock of his environments. The stage company
calls attention to this, as deenotin' turpitood; but no one
else regyards it in that light, corp'rations bein' nacherally
s'spicious. Besides, what's more to be expected than
for a newcomer to go floatin' hither an' yon about the
range that a-way, locatin' himse'f ?
"After Bismark Dutch looks Red Dog over, he returns
ag'in to Wolfville tharby displayin' his good sense
fills up on Black Jack's nose-paint, an' reetires warblin'
them native patriotic hymns as chronicled. It's this
yere trip, after doo deebate, we enrolls him as 'Bismark
Dutch.' Also, for looks an' palsy he's all Old Monte
" Most of us has forgot Bismark Dutch, when one after
noon Old Monte remarks casyooal:
"'You-all recalls about old Bismark's nigh fin bein'
out o' reepair? Nevertheless an' notwithstandin' he's
on the shoot jest the same. I glimpses the fresh pelt of
a bobcat, as I comes squanderin' along, tacked up an*
sun-dryin' on his teepee door/
" Public interest refooses to cock its y'ears at this.
To come round tellin' that some gent can shoot some,
ain't no way to create ripples in Arizona. Which it'd
be more apt to make folks set up an' bat their eyes, to
hear he couldn't. Old Monte's manifesto that Bismark
Dutch is not wholly ignorant of firearms, would have gone
in one y'ear an' out the other, only it gets subsequent
"They does a heap of careless talkin' over in Tucson.
Folks thar has already done commenced to don city airs,
an' swell 'round meetropol'tan. Which I've frequent
noticed that, jest as a outfit begins to ape the East, it
takes to waxin' reckless an' onbuckled conversational.
The Tucson attention is roused by two things about Bis
mark Dutch. One is he never had no money in the
Tucson bank; an' the other is he not only possesses
plenteous wealth, but pays for chuck an' fire-water an*
sim'lar necessaries in them ancient Spanish yellow pieces
I refers to prior. Also, it's no time after he locates him-
se'f at the Mexican Rock House an' this is excitin'
speshul before he begins to ship express packages to
Europe Berlin, if mem'ry's keepin' its feet. These
yere packages he valyoos at five thousand dollars per;
an' to heft one of 'em shows it's some'ers about twenty
"'Gold!' says the express agent, comparin' valyoo
to heft; an' between us I strings my chips with that astoote
express gent in them concloosions.
"When the express gent says 'Gold!' it starts all the
clackin' mill-wheels of Tucson conjectchoor to work-
in' over-time. Likewise it opens up a line of proof as to
Bismark Dutch bein' mod'rately on the shoot.
"The last struggles to the surface this fashion. It's
at the Red Light when a skeered dejected-seemin' party
hitches his cha'r up alongside of Enright's, an' tells how
Bismark Dutch cuts loose at him with a rifle. As lendin*
corrob'ration, he shows where a bullet's burned the calf
of his laig. It's his idee the stranglers ought to move
some in the business.
"'Whatever be you doin' to this Dutchman?' asks
Enright. 'You shore don't aim to tell me he ups an'
whangs away at you, jest to try the sights on his gun ? '
" With that the creased party confesses, some shame
faced, how the tales about Bismark Dutch changin' in
Spanish pieces at the Tucson stores, an' sendin' bags of
doubloons to Europe, sets his imagination to millin',
an' he allows he'll go spyin' 'round to locate where he
"You see,' says the creased party, 'pologetic, 'I'm
"Oh, you're a prospector!' returns Enright, plenty
sarcastic. 'Permit me to add you're likewise lucky
to be alive. Now if you was to come catfootin' about
my camp, they'd need a blanket wharin to collect your
reemains. It's a cow pony to a prairie dog, I'd shoot you
in two.' Then to Jack Moore: 'Jack, at a earliest
el'gible chance, take a squint at that old Dutch party's
rifle. If, as I fears, it's a inferior weepon, see to it he
gets a proper one instanter. In case, however, his pres
ent arm'ment should prove all right, notch up the hind
sight a p'int or two. I jedge, from this yere prospector's
laig, he's shootin* too low.'
"Jack says he will; wharat the creased prospector
THE CANYON HOLD-UP
ABOUT the time Bismark Dutch onfurls his
blankets in the Mexican Rock House, seizes
his rifle an' takes to bustin* at bobcats an*
prospectors indifferent, over by the Cow Springs, as
ornery a passel of rustlers as ever dangles at the loop-
end of a lariat, builds 'em a dug-out an' goes into camp.
This yere labor of a dug-out gives the play a air of
perm'nency, that a-way, which appeals invidious to us
folks who has cows an' calves to lose. Likewise the
stage company's apprehensions takes to ghost-dancin' ;
the thought of so seelect a bevy of blacklaigs, established
so near at hand, gives 'em the shivers. The agent goes
to the extent of talkin' it over with Enright on the quiet.
"'Whatever can you do?' asks Enright in response.
'You-all ain't permitted to up an' blow folks' lights out,
simply because you distastes their looks. Which a lack
of pulcritood ain't on offence. We'll have to wait ontil
them Cow Springs guerrilas starts somethin'.'
"Thar's three, by corral count, in this yere Cow
Springs contingent three, an' a Mexican to cook for 'em.
The leader is Big Steve; an' he clothes himse'f, as in a
weddin' garment, with the repyootation of havin' downed
divers an' sundry citizens in private wars of his own.
They do allow, too, that once this Big Steve gets to drink-
in', he brags about them homicides. For myse'f, never
havin' had the pleasure of seein' him drunk none, I'm
onable to say. If he does, sech boasts shows he's plumb
vulgar in the extreme.
"As a excoose for livin', Big Steve puts it up cold he's a
cattleman him an' his felon campaneros. Since no
gent ever sees no cattle, an' he don't announce no brand,
sech bluffs is held to be figments. To be shore, a talka
tive sport shows up from over to'ards Waco once, who
lets on that Big Steve is, for a limited period, in the cattle
trade in Texas. He tells how Big Steve starts with a
orig'nal herd of two old steers, an' the followin' spring
round-up brands eighty calves. Wharupon his fellow
laborers in the walks of cattle gets jealous of his success
an' runs Big Steve out.
"Enright an' the balance of us finds much in them
Waco rem'nescences to feed our feelin's.
"'An' at that,' says Enright; 'mebby when all's in,
it ain't cattle he's after; mebby he's only smugglin' be
tween us an' Mexico.'
" Big Steve at the go-off makes but one excursion into
Wolfville. On that occasion, havin' absorbed the
'leventh drink, he begins his outlaw companions actin'
as audience to talk a heap loud. Cl'arin' his valves
with a whoop which shakes the glasses on the Red Light
bar, he backs up ag'inst the front of that house of enter
tainment, an' roars out:
"'Which I shore feels that contrary I jest won't stay
yere nor go anywhere else I*
THE CANYON HOLD-UP
" Jack Moore, whose dooty as kettle tender is to mod-
'rate eboolient sperits, don't happen to be present none;
wharf ore Cherokee assoomes the pressure. Gettin*
up from behind his faro lay-out the Red Light bein'
Cherokee's place of business he sa'nters forth an*
fronts up to Big Steve.
'"It ain't for me/ says Cherokee, 'to go knockin' the
horns off the innocent happiness of folks, but if I was
you I'd not emit that yell no more. Thar's a party,
somewhat resemblin' you for gen'ral worthlessness, who
in a fool attempt to buffalo this village cuts loose a yell
like that, an' we gives him inexpensive interment on Boot
"Big Steve takes in Cherokee with one convincin*
glance, an' grows moote as a oyster. It's the only time
them Cow Springs hold-ups tries anything on us.
"Not but what they has their merry hours. Thar's a
Mexican plaza over back towards the line, an', when
they feels the need of a holiday, they repairs thither an'
stands it on its he'pless head. But they never ropes at
Wolfville after Cherokee gives notice. Likewise, as
raw material for a shakin' up, they coppers Red Dog,
Troo, Red Dog is not without its blemishes; but bein'
meek an' lowly an' long-sufferin', that a-way, ain't
among 'em none. Which the inborn b'ligerency of that
Red Dog camp is sech as to cause it to go about on per-
petchooal tip-toe, growlin' same as a sorehead dog!
Thar's nothin' to it! If Big Steve an' his gang was to go
bulgin' into Red Dog, allowin' to put things on a gala
basis, they'd last about as long as a pint of whisky at a
barn-raisin*. Them Red Dog sports would split 'em
into kindlin' in the flourish of a fiddle bow!
"Could Red Dog clean up Wolfville? Son, it ill
beseems one who's teeterin' along in the deeclinin' twi
light of his days, to go exaltin' his bazoo concernin'
carnage. But, you hear me! if Wolfville an' Red Dog
ever hooks up hostile, historians will shore head the
chapter, 'Red Dog's Last Days.' Whar Red Dog
proudly r'ars its crest, only a onrecogniz'ble heap of
grease an' ashes will be found, polka-dottin' the sorrow
ful bosom of the plain. Off to one side, Wolfville an'
never the smell of fire about her garments will be pur-
sooin' the even tenors an' contraltos of her ways.
"Do you know" and here the old gentleman gazed at
me with reproachful earnestness "thar's moments
when a blind chill comes gropin' its way along my back,
as I'm seized of fears that somehow you-all don't 'ppre-
ciate Wolfville at its full strength. Now to give you a
c'rrect notion: Do you remember, back in your school
days, where the question arises in nacheral ph'losophy, as
to whatever'll be the toomulchoous result if a irresist'ble
force encounters a immov'ble body? Well, son, yere-
after b'ar in mind that the answer to that conundrum
is simply 'Wolfville.'
"Thar ain't been no stick-up of a stage in our neck of
woods, for the bigger part of a year. Route agents comes
an' goes. They'll get plumb busy for a spell; an' it's
'hands up!' yere, thar an' elsewhere, in a perfect
ep'demic. Hold-up people seem for the moment as
thick as rats in a wheat-rick. At sech eepocks it's up
THE CANYON HOLD-UP
to all hands an' the cook to pull themselves together,
which they seldom fails to do, an* run off or kill off
never mindin' which these yere maraudin' miscreents.
"Bein' immoone from hold-ups for so long, it don't
s'prise us none when Old Monte comes frothin' into
camp one evenin' with a story to tell. He's at the head
of the canyon, he says, on the run in, when a rifle cracks
from some'ers up among the rocks. The outlaw back
of the gun an' the scheme's workmanlike enough tries
for the off leader. Once the leader's down, it's a cinch the
stage'll wait his crim'nal convenience.
"But the hold-up ondershoots. Instead of gettin' the
leader through the head, the same bein* his orig'nal de
sign, the bullet comes flyin' low, an' cuts the outside rein
clost up to the bits. It's done as slick as if it's slashed in
two with a bowie. After cuttin' the rein, the bullet
snips a piece of hide out o' the nigh leader's knee. Thar's
a run-away; Old Monte, because of the cut rein, bein'
powerless to guide or stop. The six plungin' bosses,
wild an' wilder every jump, goes t'arin' up the canyon,
the stage rockin* an' rollin' but upright on its four
"As the stage goes surgin' off, the hold-ups makes a
witless play. They sends a shower of lead after the
retreatin' veheecle no least chance of stoppin' it! an'
bumps off a maverick who's perched up behind. By
word of Old Monte, an' that of the express messenger
who's ridin' shotgun, both plenty adept, the shootin's
done by three guns.
"Nothin' in a smash-up or break-down way ensoos;
for the six bosses, locoed as they be by fear, still keeps
the trail. Strikin' a sandy stretch, they slows down to
sech degrees that what with the brake which Old
Monte sets to the last notch the express messenger
jumps to the ground, runs along the team, an' by gettin'
hold of the leaders' bits see-saws 'em to a halt.
"Something of the eediotic sort of these yere hold-ups
can be guessed at by recallin' how they wastes their
fragrance on a incomin' stage. The only show for riches
is on a stage goin' out. Stickin' up in-comin' coaches
that a- way, wouldn't pay day wages!
"Beyond the cut rein, an' the dead party up behind,
thar's no damage done. We're inclined to resent the
beefin' of the latter gent. He's only one of them travelin'
salesmen; but sech things, left onchecked, swells into
preecedents. Give some folks a inch an' they'll take a
ell, particularly hold-ups.
"Thar's no fashion o' doubt but it's Big Steve an'
: " Still,' as Enright puts it, 'the trouble lies in a utter
an' discouragin' want of proofs.'
"Lynch law, while eelastic, mustn't be stretched too
far; shorely not to incloode parties ag'inst whom the most
you can say is you don't like their looks. None the less
we figgers we'll go rummagin' over to the Cow Springs,
an' put some p'inted queries.
"It's yere the game begins to roll our way. About the
time we're ready to saddle up, who comes caperin'
in but Big Steve an' his bandit pards. They puts their
ponies in the corral, an' makes tracks for the Red Light;
THE CANYON HOLD-UP
thar they takes to h'istin' in licker with both hands, an'
all mighty nervous an' boisterous.
"None of us goes near 'em, the same bein' a strategic
move suggested by Enright.
"' Which it's their fears has drove 'em in,' says that
wise old long-horn. 'All we got to do is let 'em pitch on
their ropes till they throws themselves.'
"Enright's head is level. As their licker begins to get
action, Big Steve an' his pards takes to murmurin' among
themselves, an' all in a ill-yoosed vein. Their talk is
about the stage bein' stood up; an' how they don't
reckon on permittin' Wolfville, or any other camp, to
track 'round sayin' it's them none. It's a fine state of
affairs, they says, if a band of innocent cow people can't
set about their fire, an' a stage get stopped without they
"That's how their talk runs; an' it shows they're
guilty, drunk an' skeered all three. How be they to
know that the stage has been stood up ? The roomer so
far ain't even crossed to Red Dog. Much less is it
likely it's gone riotin' out to the Cow Springs!
"Thar's not a moral doubt!' says Enright emphatic
as him an' Jack Moore confers one side. 'An' yet, as
the kyards lay, if we brings 'em before us an' they stops
talkin', we'll be out on a limb ag'in for want of what
law-wolves calls "legal proofs".'
' ' Most likely,' returns Jack, ' the cunnin' move would
be to simply an' silently swing an' rattle with 'em ontil
eevents shapes up. As you says, Sam, it's their fears
that a-way drives 'em into town. Knowin' themselves
guilty, they allows we-alPll be shore to come searchin'
for 'em; an* so they decides, for the looks, to beat us
" ' What's your own notion, Jack ? ' asks Enright.
'"My idee is this: It's the frightened gent who,
speakin' gen'ral, reaches first for his gun. Now by follow-
in' these stoodents in sin about, an' lookin' at 'em some
severe, we renders 'em that hyster'cal they'll start a
bombardment. Once they onlimbers their guns, the rest
is easy. I thinks I sees my way through to a finale,
which'll leave no reason for the stranglers to convene.'
"'Well/ returns Enright, 'be discreet, Jack. If
in the course of hooman eevents, however, these yere
parties does get wiped out, I don't look to see no pop'lar
reemonstrance based on Arizona's havin' suffered a
"'Gents,' says Jack a moment later to Boggs an*
Texas Thompson, 'it looks like a battle; an* thar's a
couple of vacancies.'
"'Enough said,' grins Texas.
"As the three stands at the Red Light bar, prepar'tory
to issuing forth, Boggs whispers across to Black Jack:
'"You'll hear a dog howl in a minute sev'ral dogs.'
" Big Steve an' his pards is jest ridin' out of the corral,
as Jack with Boggs an' Texas strolls up.
"'Open order, gents!' whispers Boggs, who's an old
gun-player. ' Make 'em shoot to win. Don't give 'em
no chance to out-luck us, by missin' one an' downin*
"Boggs an' Texas an' Jack spreads out, an' comes
THE CANYON HOLD-UP
driftin' up on Big Steve an' his two. The sight of 'em,
as Jack advises Enright, stampedes Big Steve.
"'Fight your way out, boys!' he cries.
"Like it's some new kind of cavalry drill, the three
hold-ups is out of their saddles an' onto the ground in a
flash, the ponies actin' as shields. The war begins:
'bangety! bang! bang!' The ponies makes tol'rable
breastworks, but bad rests to shoot from. The hold
ups' bullets fly as high an' aimless as swallow-birds on
a summer's eve. As ag'inst this, not bein' hampered
by no ponies, both Texas an' Jack gets their men, first
fire, too dead to skin.
"It's Boggs who's havin' the interestin' time. He's
pa'red himse'f off with Big Steve, an' the hold-up him
openin' the baile secoors the primary shot at Boggs.
The latter painstakin' enthoosiast is jest pullin' his six-
shooter, when Big Steve's bullet splits on the bar'l, an'
a piece of lead gets jammed in between the cylinder an'
the steel frame. It ties up Boggs' gun so he can't even
cock it. Which he might as well have had a monkey-
"After a footile attempt or two to get action, Boggs
turns disgusted an' hurls the gun at Big Steve; who's
meanwhile been cuttin' loose every load in his Colt's-
45, like the strikin' of a Connecticut clock. One
way an* another, however, he never lands; an' when he's
out his sixth cartridge, he gives a screech of terror an'
swings into the saddle for a scamper.
"Big Steve don't scamper, none whatever! Boggs
is too clost, an' grips him, shoulder an' hip, with a wrest-
ler's hold. Boggs is as big an' strong as a cinnamon b'ar;
an', since Big Steve clamps his pony tight with a laig-hug,
Boggs with one mighty twist throws both man an* mount
on their sides. Which Big Steve an* that pony hits the
ground like a fallin' tree! Boggs is about to accumyoo-
late fresh holds, when Jack carefully sends a bullet through
Big Steve's head.
"At first Boggs can't onderstand; then he begins to
"Well, as Doc Peets remarks,' he exclaims, 'I shore
admires your sang froid! What license has you-all
to intermeddle with this Big Steve, when by the ord'n-
ances of single combat he's my individyooal meat ? '
"Which I gets afraid, Dan/ replies Jack, his tones
deprecatory, 'you're goin' to catch him alive a state of
affairs which Enright deplores private to me in advance,
as calk'lated to become embarrassin'.'
"Boggs, who's as easy mollified as a child, cl'ars up an*
smiles like a day in Joone.
"'I'm wrong, Jack,' he says; 'even without old Sam's
instructions. Thar's sech a thing as bein' too technicle;
it's a fault I must gyard ag'inst.'
"An' now Bismark Dutch re-begins to edge himse'f
into the picture. The place wharfrom them canyon
hold-ups does their shootin' at the stage, is so sityooated
that you-all could heave a stone down onto the roof of
that Mexican Rock House where Bismark Dutch, with
his crazy-hoss girl, is domiciled. Still no one regyards
the old Teuton as implicated. Old Monte, mind full of
bobcats an' prospectors, an' babblin' over his drink,
THE CANYON HOLD-UP
does try to la'nch some sech fable; but no one heeds
"An* yet, for obv'ous causes, Enright decides to
c'llect Bismark's notions, an* learn what he hears an*
sees; an* to that end he orders Jack Moore to go an'
round him up. Jack, all onthinkin/ rides over to the
camp of Bismark Dutch an' gives the p'lite an* yoosual
"' House!' he yells.
"Nacherally, any right-minded gent'd expect Bismark
Dutch to appear, an' engage in a peaceful pow-wow.
Jack's some amazed, then, an' mighty near bein' took
off his gyard, when that palsied party comes chargin'
out the door, an' blazes away at him frantic with a rifle
the same, ondoubted, wharwith he's been pottin' bobcats
" Jack's been shot at so much, he's as hard to hit as a
loon on a lake. With the first hostile manoover he's
out o' the saddle, leavin' the bullet to t'ar a hole through
the cantle. The rifle Bismark Dutch is usin' is one of
these yere new-fangled high-power guns, a 'thirty-
thirty* they calls it. Bein' light an' little, he manages
it with one hand same as if it's a six-shooter. He's
reasonably ackerate, too, an', if Jack'd stayed sot, he'd
have made a center shot.
"When Bismark Dutch opens on him all onannounced
that a-way, Jack, more by habit than reflection, returns
the fire an' nails that one remainin' hand. That mem
ber's grippin' the rifle, an* the bullet mushrooms on the
iron an' makes rags an' fragments of it. As Peets says
later, when he removes Jack's bandages an, puts on
fresh ones of his own:
'" Whatever may be said of it yereafter as ornamental,
it shore won't win no future vogue as a hand.'
" Jack loads Bismark Dutch onto that pioneer's mule,
an* brings him wounded into camp; the hollow-eyed
girl trackin' along behind, though Jack tries to make
her stay back.
'" Which she don't seem to savey none!' says Jack,
when he relates his adventures; 'I couldn't do nothin*
with her. She simply deefies me with them big eyes,
an' keeps cominY
"Enright an' the rest of us don't have much luck with
Bismark Dutch. After a f'rocious outburst in his own
furrin' tongue, which is so much like lightnin' that it
dazzles without illoominatin', he shets up as wordless as
a clam. It's as plain as a pike-staff we can't wring an
other syl'ble out of him with fire, water, knife an' cord.
"'What this outfit needs, Doc,' exclaims Enright,
plumb exasperated, 'is a res'dent Dutchman. I'll
devote my first leesure to indoocin' one to come yere an'
live. Now if we has a Dutchman among us, not like
them fiddlin' dance hall mutton-heads, but one that's
tamed to our customs, we might elicit somethin' out of
this old ground-hawg.'
"'Which a local Dutchman,' returns the acquiescent
Peets, 'would be as handy as a pocket in a shirt.'
"While nothin' good or bad is to be torn from Bismark
Dutch, we gathers still less from the locoed daughter.
Faro Nell tries her; but she jest sets an' stares like some
THE CANYON HOLD-UP
frightened animal. As for Missis Rucker, that deer-
eyed girl evolves screams at sight of her; wharat said
matron gets indignant.
"'Thar's no sort o' question/ says Enright at last,
his tones peevish an' fault-findin', 'but what we-alls
ought to hang this Bismark Dutch; his blastin' away
at Jack should be s'fficient to force our hands to sech
proceedure. But what gets me is the girl; her life's
wropped up in this old loonatic. Besides, once we sends
him skyward she's left on our hands. If we has only
Bismark Dutch to contend with, our paths would be
open an* plain; but this yere maiden of onsettled mind
is a most disturbin' element! It's with shame I confesses
that I don't know what to do. Doc, you formyoolate a
"'No,' says Peets; 'my mind's as empty as a church.'
"'Well then,' declar's Enright, mighty desp'rate,
'I thinks we'd better take the hobbles off, an' throw
these wild folks back on the range. As to this Bismark
Dutch personal, with one hand dead an' the other done
for, I reckon he's fired his last shot. It ain't as if he
gets Jack neither. Moreover, if we swings him off, that
girl with her loonatic eyes'll shore pester me in my sleep.'
"The camp's of one mind with Enright, Jack Moore
applaudin' speshul. In a fortnight, Peets has Bismark
Dutch's hand tinkered into shape, an' him an' his deer-
eyed daughter lines out for furrin' climes. It looks, too,
like he makes his last shipment valyoo, five thousand;
weight, per express agent's word, twenty pounds the
very day the stage is stood up. Later, we locates the
hole; it's onder the fire-place in the Mexican Rock House,
an', from the size, I figgers he harvests about fifty thou
sand dollars. Quite a killin!
"'The same/ explains Peets, 'bein' calk'lated in his
native land to put Bismark Dutch 'way up in the pic
tures. Mighty likely he cuts the trail that leads to it,
while he's ransackin' 'round among old docyooments
in Chihuahua for things to write about them Greasers.'
"'Gents/ says Boggs, motionin' to Black Jack,
'most folks, acquainted with my nacheral av'rice, '11
go 'round thinkin' that I wishes I'd happened up on
them fifty thousand mese'f. But, on thesquar'I I'm sort
o' glad it's that locoed old Dutchman an' his girl.'
'"Yo tambien, Dan!' whispers Faro Nell, as she
reaches round an' squeezes Boggs' hand."
THE POPULAR SOURNESS
NO gent, onless locoed, would ever put a bet
on the public." My old friend spoke with
warmth, at the same time throwing down
a newspaper from which the glaring headline, " Over
throw of a Popular Idol," stared out. "Not," he con
tinued, lapsing into his customary manner of calm
not to say benign philosophy "not that I'm likely to
get caught out on any sech limb personal, me makin'
it an onbreakable roole to bet on nothin' that can talk.
Animals is different. A party who wagers his riches
on animals, gets somethin' reesemblin' an even break for
his money. Bein' enable to talk that a-way, animals is
limited in their mootual commoonications. That saves
'em from given' or takin' advice, an' leaves it possible for
gents of jedgment to half way figger on whatever they'll
" Evidently, you don't believe deeply in the wisdom of
man," said I.
"No, I don't regyard hoomanity as so plumb wise.
You-all could take me into the halls of Congress, an'
plant me in the legislatif foreground as a question; you
might get a member to introdooce a resolootion sayin'
I'm a white man without a cross. Instantly, an opp'-
sition will take the floor, claimin' I'm a Injun; an' I'll
play in a heap of luck if a third party don't form for the
purpose of showin' I'm a Mexican. All the time, too,
that them statesmen is wranglin' over my tribe an* strain,
thar won't be a mule between the oceans, but would
know I'm white at the drop of the hat know it in the
"Shore, to my pore thinkin' animals has a heap more
savey than folks. Thar's the elk. When he allows
he'll go to bed some, he begins negotiations by walkin'
in a half-njile circle. Then he marches into the safe
center of the circle, plunks himse'f down, an* is as sound
asleep as a tree in a moment all but his nose. Bein'
inside that circle, if a wolf or a man or a mountain lion is
followin' his trail, no matter how the wind shifts, his nose
gives him warnin'. Even a mule-eared deer, makin'
a perpetyooal skirmish line of his nose, goes feedin' up
the wind. Do folks ? As often as otherwise they makes
a speshulty of gettin* the breeze to their ignorant backs;
an' go romancin' off into the teeth of trouble, talkin'
about their 'reasonin' powers,' an' feelin' sorry for what
they calls the 'lower animals.'
"At that, you're not to go followin' off no wrong wagon
track, an* assoome that animals, as eevents shift, don't
shift their instincts to match 'em. When every Injun
goes shootin' bows an' arrers, an' every white gent packs
a squirrel rifle, bullets sixty to the pound, grizzly b'ars, as
I once tells you former, treats said armaments with dis
dain. The grizzlies knows thay can't be hurt none by
sech footile weepons; an', far from bein' worried by the
THE POPULAR SOURNESS
'Westward ho ! ' of the white man, they regyards emigrants
an* their families with satisfaction, as additions to the vis'-
ble food supply. Later, when we gets to work on 'em with
them high-power big-bore guns, an* knocks 'em over too
dead to skin, grizzlies changes utter. To-day you-all
couldn't get clost enough to a grizzle to give him a roast
apple. At the sight of innocent papooses, even, he goes
riotin' off through the bresh, up hill an' down dale, like
his r'ar's afire.
"No; as I was observin* when I gets deeflected onto
b'ars, folks ain't so plumb sagacious not even Wolfville
folks. Back in the old days, if the stage breaks down on
account of rotten axles, do we-alls cuss out the company ?
Not at all ; we burns the ground around Old Monte, when
even the prairie dogs onderstands how that pore old
slave of alcohol ain't no more reesponsible for rotten
axles than for the quality of Red Light nose-paint.
"Which this partic'lar victim of pop'lar wrath" here
the old gentleman tossed a scornful thumb towards the
paper, where it lay on the floor "is a office holder. He
ain't entitled to no sympathy, for if he had owned a lick
of sense he could have seen his downfall comin'. The
finish of office holders is allers alike; it's the finish of the
army mule. Each of 'em is some day led out all onex-
pected, an' branded 'I. C.' which means 'Inspected an*
condemned,' an' figgertively speakin' your mule an' your
office holder rots down right thar."
"Did you ever have an ambition to hold office?" I
asked, more with a purpose to tease than elicit informa
"Me hold office? I'd sooner hold a baby! Not
that I aims to speak disparagin' of infants neither, deemin'
'em as roobies above price. But nacherally you-all
saveys that me bein' a bachelor, an* tharfore onmarried
a whole lot, babies in my case is barred.
"Speakin' of office holders, I can't say I've a heap of
use for 'em. Office holders, taken in the herd, is so
plumb egreegious doin' so little towards he'pin' the
public, while allowin' they'll do so much. At that I
don't reckon it's all their fault. A man slam him on
the scales an' weigh him is a mighty puny creature.
The public, as ag'inst this, is mighty big; an' for him to go
talkin* of he'pin' the public is as though he talks of he'pin'
the Mississippi. The public goes pirootin* into a 'lec
tion, an' prodooces a gov'nor; an' the transaction ree-
minds me a heap of that hill in the fables, which goes
rockin' an' weavin' all over the pampas, a-skeerin'
everybody to death, an' winds up its onseemly ghost-
dancin' by bringin' forth a mouse. Gov'nor! Does
'lectin' some ornery no-'count party to be gov'nor render
him less ornery? Which you-all might as well throw a
cow-saddle onto a jack-rabbit, thinkin' to make a mus
tang of it!
"Take the biggest gent on the list, an' construct a
gov'nor of him: whatever can he do? The job's so
gigantic, an' he's so plumb little, you'll find him as he'p-
less to change the eternal face of things as though you'd
made him gov'nor of a mountain. The best he gets out
of it will mebby be to scratch his hon'rable name on the
onockepied face of some rock ledge; an' at that the moss'll
THE POPULAR SOURNESS
overgrow it in a week an' blot it out. The next gent to
climb the hill won't even be able to make out his 'nitials.
"It's my notion," went on the old gentleman, heaving
a sigh "it's my notion, foaled of years of experience,
that the biggest among us might better moderate his
se'f-esteem. He can make up his mind he's shore power
less to give his hour a lift to any great extent. An' then
ag'in, it ain't needed none; it's too much like givin'
Providence a lift. That gent comes nearest to gettin' his
own inconsequential measure, who concloods that,
when he's won out his blankets an* his three feeds a day,
together with a occasional drink, he's beat this game
called livin' for about all he's goin' to get.
" He'p the public ? Even if you could, it wouldn't be
worth while. You'd about wind up at the leetle eend of
the horn, same as this office-holdin' tarrapin in the noos-
paper. Publics is ongrateful. He'pin' the public out
of a hole, is as oncertain as he'pin' a b'ar out of a hole;
it's bloo chips to white that the first offishul act of
either'll be to chaw you up.
"As aidin' me to this concloosion, I sees somethin' of
the sort come off in the c'rreer of Doc Peets. This is
'way back yonder, when Wolfville is cuttin' its milk teeth,
an' prior to the dawnin' of sech evidences of progress as
the Bird Cage Op'ry House, an' Colonel Sterett's Daily
Coyote. It's before the Washwoman's War, an' ante
dates the nuptials of Tucson Jennie with Dave Tutt by
"What's the story? It don't amount to much, an*
is valyooable only as 'llustratin' what I says on the
footility, not to mention the peril, of tryin' to turn a com-
moonal trick. Peets cuts loose to he'p the public; an*
the first move he gets a stack down wrong, an' jest
manages to round on the play in time to keep himse'f
from bein' swept plumb off the board. You-all has heard
me yeretofore alloode to Peets, as the best eddicated an'
deepest sharp in the territory. What I'm to reelate is
not to be took ag'inst them utterances. Peets is young
when the eepisode occurs; later, when years has come an'
gone an' thar's a pretty hefty accumyoolation of rings
at the base of Peets' horns, you-all couldn't have coaxed
him into no sech trap, not for gold an' precious stones.
" It has its beginnin' in the comin' to town of Tacoma
Tom, an' the subsequent discovery of that kyard-expert
dead out back of the dance hall, a bullet through his
back. It shore looks like somebody's been objectin'
to Tacoma with a gun. Thar ain't so much as a whisper
of suspicion p'intin' to the partic'lar sport who thus
finds fault with Tacoma, or what for. Wolfville is baf
"This bein' left in the dark, op'rates to rub the public
fur the wrong way. Not that Wolfville feels as though it
can't keep house without deceased; at best he's but a
fleetin' form of tinhorn hold-up, of no social standin',
an' it's apples to ashes the stranglers would have had
Jack Moore run him out o' camp inside a week. Still,
it's a case of a party gettin' downed, an' the public's
been eddicated to at least expect a solootion, even if
thar ain't no lynchin'. In this instance the public don't
get neither; wharf ore it takes to frettin' a little onder the
THE POPULAR SOURNESS
quiet collar. Also, Red Dog goes to makin* reemarks;
an' this last so shames the more morbid sperits, like
Boggs, they begins to talk of movin' to Tucson.
" While public feelin' is thus strained, the general eye
sort o' takes to focusin' on a Mexican, who's been hangin'
out over to the corrals for about a useless month. It
grows to be the common view that this yere Mexican
may be spared from among us, without upsettin' the
whole Wolfville frame-work. Troo, thar's nothin' to
connect him with the bumpin' off of Tacoma, except
he's a Mexican; but in a commoonity which favors hang-
in' folks not so much for what they do as for what they are,
this saddle-colored fact of a sunburned nationality goes
some distance. The boys takes to murmurin* among
themselves, as they slops out their Old Jordan at the
Red Light counter, that to hang said Mexican to the
windmill wouldn't hurt that water-drawin' contraption
a little bit. Thar's even people who claims it's calk'l-
ated for the windmill's embellishment.
"The Mexican himse'f must have been one of them
mind-readers; for, while the whisper yoonitin' him to the
windmill goes meanderin' up an* down, he of a sudden
disappears entire. This ontoward evaporation of the
Mexican, at the only time he's reely needed, is regyarded
as a hoss on the camp; an' with that, public feelin' takes
on a more exasperatin' edge than prior. Likewise,
Red Dog is thar with the yoosual barbed bluff, to the
insultin' effect that Wolfville manages its kyards so
clumsy, that even a blinded greaser reads its hand.
" It's while the pop'lar temper is thus morose, that Old
Man Enright an* Doc Peets comes together casyooal in
the New York Store.
"'What's the matter with the camp, Sam?' asks
Peets. He's payin' for a bloo shirt, with pearl buttons,
he's bought. 'It looks as though the outfit's on a dead
" Peets' tones is anxious. When it comes to settin' up
all night with Wolfville, an' rockin' its cradle an' warmin'
its milk, give me Peets!
"'Somethin' ought to be done,' he continyoos. 'As
the play stands, the pop'lar sperit once so proud an'
high is slowly but shorely boggin' down.'
"'It's Tacoma gettin' beefed,' says Enright, 'an' our
omittin' to stretch that corral greaser. Thar's a bet we
overlooks, Doc! We never should have let that felon
"'But both of us,' observes Peets, 'you-all as chief of
the vig'lance committee, an' me as a member in full
standin', lives well aware thar ain't the shadow of evidence
that the Mexican wipes out Tacoma.'
"'None the less,' returns Enright, 'the boys sort o'
lotted on a lynchin'. You saveys, Doc, that it ain't
so important to hang the right gent, as to hang some gent
when looked for. Besides, to let a Mexican run out from
between our fingers, that a-way, is mortifyin' to the
"'Well,' reemarks Peets, 'somethin' to arouse public
enthoosiasm is the imperatif demand. If we-all permits
the boys to go gloomin' 'round in their present frame,
they'll shore take to chewin' one another's mane.'
THE POPULAR SOURNESS
"Enright nods assent, but offers no su'gestions.
"'See yere!' exclaims Peets, after a pause Peets
is more fertile than Enright 'I've roped onto an idee.
The games is dead at this hour; suppose we rounds up the
camp for a talk. A pow-wow, though nothin' results,
is calk'lated to prodooce a soothin' effect.'
"'Which I'm agree'ble,' remarks Enright; 'but how
be we goin' to convene 'em? Back in Tennessee, in
my natif village of Pineknot, we used to ring the town
bell. Wolfville bein' deevoid of town bells, I takes it the
next best move is for me to s'anter to the r'ar door, an'
shake the loads out o' my gun. That'll excite pop'lar
cur'osity; the boys'll come a-runnin' to see who gets it.'
"Enright reetires to the back door, an' bangs away
some frantic three or four times with his six-shooter.
The day bein' quiet, the effect is plenty vivacious; every
body comes t'arin' over all spraddled out. That is
every gent but Black Jack comes t'arin'; him bein' on
watch at the Red Light, he don't feel free to leave the
''Any one creased?' asks Dave Tutt, out o' breath
' ' None whatever,' replies Peets, easy an' suave. Then
lettin' on he don't notice the disapp'intment that spreads
itse'f from face to face, he proceeds: 'This yere is a
bloodless foosilade, an' is resorted to as a means of con-
vokin' the best minds of the camp. Thar's a subject
of common interest to be proposed; an' to get for'ard
in order my motion is that our honored leader, Mister
Enright, be requested to preeside.'
'"Hold on a minute/ interjects Boggs, 'ontil I signs
up to Black Jack thar ain't no corpses. He's that in
quisitive, an' him bein' tied to his dooties as barkeep
that a-way, he'd eat his heart out if I don't.' "
BY the time Boggs relieves Black Jack, the
meetin' is in line, Enright employin' a dry-
goods box as desk, an' the audience camped
about permiscus on crates an* boxes. Faro Nell, whose
love of Wolfville is second only to Peets', has a front seat.
"When the meetings ready, Peets arises an* assoomes
"'As author conj'intly with the chaV yere Peets
bows p'litely to Enright 'of this yere deemonstration,
I takes it on myse'f with the hon'rable chaYs permission,
to briefly state its objecks.'
"'Let her roll!' says Enright, gently tappin* on the
dry-goods box with his yoosual gavel, the same bein' a
" ' Gents/ resoomes Peets, castin' a beamin' eye about
the scene, 'I desires to avoid all reference to recent events
of a harrowin' nacher, concernin' the late Tacoma Tom
an* a Mexican person we don't lynch; an* so, comin'
squar' down to the turn, I ventures the reemark that thar's
somethin' wrong with Wolfville. As affairs stand, our
pride is oozin' away, our brotherly love is turnin' sour,
our sperit is peterin', an', the way we're p'intin' out, his-
t'ry will one day jestify the low reemarks which Red Dog
is makin' at our expense. Havin' said so much, an' be-
fore advancin' further, gents, let me pause an' invite
"'Which you-all hears the Doc,' says Enright, softly
beatin' on the box like he's keepin' time to music. 'Any
gent with views should pour 'em forth. Red Dog has
its envious eye on this outfit; it will take advantage of any
weakenin'. So far Red Dog has been out-lucked, out-
dealt, out-held an' out-played; Wolfville has downed
her on the deal an' on the draw. But to make the footure
like the past, deemands that we act promptly an' in yoon-
ison, an' give the sityooation, morally speakin', the best
whirl of the wheel.'
" ' Recognizin',' observes Dave Tutt, risin' to his feet,
'the trooth of what the Doc has said, an' regyardin'
that gent as possessin' the wisdom of serpents, I desires
to j'ine with him in sayin' somethin' public must be did,
I asks tharfore, whatever for a play would it be for us to
rope up one of these yere lecture sharps? Thar's a
maverick of that breed in Tucson now; an', if Wolfville
says the word, I'll stampede over to-morry an' tie him
down. He could lecture in Hamilton's dance hall,
an' to my jedgment it would look like a mighty mee-
'"Whatever is this shorthorn lecturin' on?' asks Jack
"'Roosia,' says Tutt. 'He's got maps, an' books
an' the entire lay-out from deal box to check rack.
Folks as ought to know, gives it out cold that he turns as
strong a game for as high a limit, as any lecturer they
ever goes ag'inst.'
DOC PEETS' ERROR
" ' Onder other an* what one might deescribe as a more
concrete condition of public feelinY interjects Peets,
' thar could be nothin' better than the suggestion of Mister
Tutt. But my fear is that Wolfville ain't in no proper
mood for lectures. What we needs is not so much a
lecture, which is for a day, but somethin' lastin', sech as
the example of a reefined an* exalted home-life blossom-
in' in our midst. What the hour pines for is the ameel-
oratin* an* mollifyin' inflooence of an elevated woman
hood. Shore, we has our little fav'rite, Faro Nell, an*
the gent never jingles a spur in Wolfville who wouldn't
ride his pony to death in her behalf. But Nell's young
merely a yearlin' like. What our wants require is the
picture of a happy household, wharof the feminine head,
in the triple role of woman, wife an' mother, while cherish-
in' an' carin' for her husband, sheds likewise a beenign
ray for us.'
"'Rah! for Doc Peets!' cries Faro Nell, wavin'
her stetson. Then, to Cherokee, who's planted near:
'Ain't the Doc jest splendid?'
"Cherokee smiles but says nothin', bein' a silent sharp.
"Pausin', says Peets, 'to thank our beautiful young
town's lady for that cheer, I surges on to say I learns
from first sources, indeed from the gent himse'f that one
of our worthiest citizens, none other in trooth than Abilene
Davis, well an' fav'rably known as blacksmith at the
stage station, has a lovely wife in Kansas. The town
so forchoonate as to be her residence is Caldwell. I thar-
fore recommends, as the sense of the meetin', that Mister
Davis bring on this Caldwell lady, to reign over his domes-
tic hearth. The O. K. Restauraw, bein' the hostelry
wharat Mister Davis munches his daily chili-con-carne ,
will lose a boarder; but Missis Rucker, who conducts it,
will not reepine for that. What is the O. K. Restauraw's
loss will be Wolfville's immortal gain, an' for Wolfville
Missis R. is proud to make a sacrifice. Mister Cha'rman,
my recommendation takes the form of a motion/
"'Which said motion/ observes Enright, 'onless I
hears a protest, goes as it lays. Thar bein' no objections,
the cha'r declares it to be the commands of this meetin*
that Abilene bring on his wife.'
" 'See yere, Mister Pres'dent,' breaks in Abilene, lookin*
some hectic an' wild, 'as the he'pless victim of this
plunge on the part of the body pol'tic, I rises to ask do
my feelin's count ? Which if I ain't in this if it's con
sidered the c'rrect dido to lay waste a party who in his
lowly way is doin' his public an' his private best to play
a pore hand well, why! say so an' I'll pack in. Im-
pugnin* no gent's motives, I'm still free to reemark that
these yere proceedin's looks like the offspring of crim'nal
"'I will call the gent's attention,' observes Enright,
a heap dignified, 'to the fact that thar's no disp'sition to
crowd his hand, or force a play to which he seems averse.
If from any knowledge we supposes we entertains, of the
possession on his part of a sperit which might rise to the
aid of a gen'ral need I shore hopes I makes my meanin'
plain we over-deals the kyards, all we can do is 'pologize,
throw our hands in the center, an* shuffle an' deal ag'in.'
"'Not at all,' breaks in Abilene, not likin' the gray
DOC PEETS' ERROR
gleam in Enright's eye; 'an* no offence to be given, took
nor meant. Let me say I has the highest respect for
the cha'r, personal. Likewise, I freequent observes that
I looks on Doc Peets as among the best feachures of
Arizona. But this yere dash into my fam'ly life needs to
be thought out. You-all don't know the lady; which, she
bein' my wife, I ain't puttin' on no dog when I says I do.'
"'Does she look like me, Abilene?' chirps up Faro
"'Not necessar'ly, Nell/ says Abilene. 'To be shore
I ain't basked none recent in her s'ciety, an' mem'ry may
be blurred, but as I recalls she looks a whole lot like an
Injun uprisin'. None the less, she's as excellent a lady
as ever fondles a flapjack; I'll say that! Only gents'
an' yere Abilene's tones takes on a pleadin' sound 'she's
uppish; that's whatever, she's shore uppish! I might
add,' continyoos Abilene, in a deprecatory 'pologetic way,
'that inasmuch as I wasn't jest lookin' for the camp to
turn to me in its hour of need, this proposal to transplant
my wife to Wolfville is an honor as onexpected as a rattle
snake in a roll of blankets. I'm the last sport to lay down
on a dooty, when the same's sawed off on me proper; still,
I thinks we ought to approach this enterprise plenty con-
serv'tive. My wife has her idees ; an' I'm afraid she won't
in some reespecks endorse our Wolfville ways. An',
gents, if she should take a notion ag'in us, she's a force
to make itse'f felt. Wharfore, in case you insists on
carryin' out your locoed designs, you mustn't blame me
yereafter if you finds that, in thus pitchin' camp in the
dark, you've spread your blankets on a ant-hill.'
"'Mr. Cha'rman,' observes Boggs, who's been wearin'
a troubled look, like somethings preyin' on his mind,
'how would it be to begin by merely invitin' Abilene's
wife to come yere on a visit ? After what Abilene says,
I deems it no more than proodence to manage a hold
out in our favor if we can.'
"'Gents/ breaks in Abilene, 'it shore seems onfair for
all Wolfville to go pilin' itse'f up on me, when yere's
Texas Thompson who more'n once mentions a wife of
his who's livin' down Laredo way.'
"'Stop the deal!' cries Texas, as sharp as the crack
of a pistol. 'I don't aim to go trackin' off into no ex
planations; I contents myse'f with announcin' that so
shore as Wolfville says "Wife" to me, I'll back for a
corner an' pull a gun:' An' yere Texas certainly does
look a heap grim.
"'Goin' to the amendment,' remarks Peets, ignorin'
the outbreak of Texas, 'of Mister Boggs, that we asks
Abilene's wife yere on a visit, let me say I cheerfully
adopts the same. But nothin' niggardly, nothin' mean,
mind you! Let Abilene invite his wife for say a year
let him do that, an' I guarantees the outcome. Once the
lady stacks up ag'inst our daily game, an' triumphs
through a deal or two, she'll never give us up. Mister
Cha'rman, as I moves we adjourn to the Red Light, let
me say I holds the present to be the dawnin* of a new
" Boggs, on his way to the Red Light, lays b'ar to Tutt
an' me, private, why he wears that harassed air doorin*
DOC PEETS' ERROR
"'It's because Peets is makin' the mistake of his life,
explains Boggs. 'Nacherally, I couldn't onfold at the
time, Abilene bein' thar; it ain't for me to go plowin'
up no gent's feelin's, an* him settin* in hard luck. But,
between us I've seen this yere matron, when I'm drivin'
cattle up from Texas into Caldwell.'
"'What for a lookin' seraph is she?' asks Tutt.
" ' Onderstand,' replies Boggs, 'I've allers held that
no lady's ugly, an* I holds so now. I'm obleeged to con
fess, however, that Abilene's wife has a disadvantageous
face. Her profile is too jagged too much like the side
view of a rip-saw.'
'"Some ladies/ says Tutt, him bein' a born optimist,
' makes up in style what they're shy on looks.'
"'I hates to close the door of hope/ returns Boggs,
' but I don't reckon, Dave, your reemark goes as to Abi
lene's wife. Style ain't her long suite no more'n looks;
the trooth is she dresses kind o' plain. The time I sees
her, the waist of her frock's made out of a flour sack;
I knows, because it says on it in bloo letters, "Rose of the
Walnut Valley. XXX. Fifty pounds," bein' the brand
we uses in our chuck wagon.'
"It's enough to wring tears from a Apache, the way
Abilene resigns himse'f to be reyoonited with his fam'ly.
Jest as I knows of a hoss-thief person, who's bein' swung
off by the stranglers, fittin' the lariat to his own neck
an' b'arin' a he'pin' hand at his own lynchin', so Abilene
sends his wife the message to come on. She answers
back she'll be with us in a month; wharupon everybody
dons a expectant look, like somethin' thrillin' is on its
way that is, everybody except Abilene who is melan-
cholly, an' Texas who is hostile.
"Texas, who's more or less loser in a wedded way
himse'f, cannot reepress his feelin's of contempt for
what's goin' on. ' If that Abilene/ says Texas, ' possesses
the spunk of horned toads, he'd shore get a brace of guns
an' give this band of marplots a battle.'
"Peets grows as cocky an' confident as a dozen jay
birds. 'It's allers that way, Sam,' he says to Enright,
payin' himse'f a compliment; 'a gent's cleverest thoughts
comes when he's workin' for public good.'
" 'This yere hand ain't played out, Doc,' returns En-
right; an* while his manner is soft an' easy, thar's in it
the flicker of a warnin'.
"The eeventful day draws round; Abilene goes out on
the trail a piece to meet his wife, an' sort o' break the
effect. When the stage swings into the post-office,
the entire outfit is thar to start Abilene's wife out with
good impressions. Excuse me shudderin' some; but she's
shore a iron-visaged heroine!
"As Abilene he'ps her out of the coach, which feat
he pulls off like he's handlin' a box of dynamite, Peets
steps for'ard an' takes off his hat.
" 'Missis Davis, I believe?' he says.
"Whoever is this yere inebriated loafer, Mister Davis ?'
deemands the lady,glarin' at Peets. ' No friend of yours,
I hopes. He looks like he steals hosses for a KvinV
Then, to Peets, who's bowin' an' scrapin', tryin' to get
p'lite action; 'Go way, you insultin' reprobate! Don't
you das't to offer me no roodness!'
DOC PEETS' ERROR
" ' I don't aim none/ says Old Monte, as later we gathers
about him, askin' questions, 'to go blowin' about the
private affairs of my passengers, holdin' it onprofessional;
but, not to go no further gents, I hopes never to taste
licker ag'in if she don't give Abilene a lickin' over back
in the canyon. That's straight; she makes him yelp
like a coyote!'
"If ever a party is jestified of eevents it's Abilene.
In less'n a week, that wife we imports for him has Wolf-
ville walkin' in a circle. Thar ain't a gent among us
who's got strength of char'cter enough, to even stay in
the street when she shows up. The whole town goes into
hidin'. Puttin' it the mildest, she's a menace to a free
people. She swoops on a poker game, into which Abilene
is settin'; an', although he's ahead at the time, she con
fiscates a pot of over ninety dollars that's in the center,
besides takin' what money's loose in front of Boggs an'
Jack Moore, claimin' the same as havin* been wrested
from Abilene by venal practices. She lands in the Red
Light one ca'm afternoon, flourishin' a axe, an' informs
Black Jack she'll wreck the joint if ever she smells rum
on Abilene ag'in. At this, the boys in their despair,
begins sayin' things about Peets; besides eyin' him mighty
baleful. Folks is seen to drink alone; which, speakin*
from standp'ints of public peace, is a worst possible sign.
"Peets grows indignant; but he can't formyoolate no
plans. 'The idee of this outfit of prairie dogs blamin'
me I* he says, when him an' Enright's sadly talkin'
things over. ' This is what I gets for rushin' to the rescoo
"'Doc/ returns Enright, slow an' solemn, 'you knows
me. I'd stand up a'gin the iron for you; an' even now,
if worst falls, I means to perish with you. None the less,
r I cannot pretend amazement at the boys lay in' their
troubles to your door. As a squar' man, with a fairly
balanced mind, I'm bound to admit the boys is right.
Now I don't say the camp feels what you'd call reesent-
ful, Doc; it's more like they're mournin' over a day that's
gone an' a peace you overthrows. An' yet you knows what
hoomanity is, when rendered desp'rate by burdens more'n
it can b'ar. I'm the last gent to go determinin' what's
best for other gents to do, but you an' me is old friends;
an' so, as a warnin' from a source that means you well,
let me say that, onder the circumstances, an' rememberin'
how we live in a day of lariats an' windmills, if I stood
in your moccasins, Doc, either me or that maraudin'
lady you introdooces yere, would leave town without
"Peets couldn't be more impressed if all inadvertent
five aces deevelops in one deal. An' let me observe
it's beautiful to see him begin the round-up of his stam
peded pop'larity. Peets is allers great, but never so
great as when the shadow of Abilene's wife lays over
him an' Wolfville like a blight.
"Followin' Enright's forebodin's, Peets holds a secret
conference with Abilene out back o' the corral. Later
he reports to Enright.
"'I reckon, Sam,' he says, knittin' his brows thought
ful, 'I've cut a trail that ought to lead us out.'
'"I shore trusts as much/ returns Enright. 'As
DOC PEETS' ERROR
eevents are headin', I sees nothin' for it but to adjourn
Wolfville sine die.'
" ' This yere's the proposition/ goes on Peets. 'Thar's
a rich an' sickly Caldwell aunt; also thar's a doctor.
Abilene's done give me the names of both. I'm no
Elijah, but I now foresees that Abilene's wife is goin'
to get a message from said physician, sayin' the rich
aunt is cashin' in, and to come a-runnin'.
"'But Doc/ reemonstrates Enright, 'do you-all
reegyard it as on the squar' to go deloodin' this lady about
a dyin' aunt, who most likely is up an' hustlin'?'
'"Sam/ says Peets, 'sech egreegious queries makes
me tired. You should not forget that se'f-preservation,
as a law of nacher, reefers to commoonities as much as
"Boggs saddles the best pony in the corral, an* goes
dashin' off for Tucson; next day he comes dashin' back.
He b'ars a telegram for Abilene's wife; an* whether it's
troo or no, at least it's convincin'. Next sun-up, by
speshul buckboard, that reemarkable lady leaves for the
East, castin' as she goes a sneerin' look at us, as we peeks
from the Red Light's winders.
"The joyful dust of her departure hasn't settled, be
fore Wolfville embarks in a celebration, so copious an'
so exhaustive, it leaves the Red Light crippled, ontil it
freights in a fresh stock. Peets, so lately the objeck of
public anger, is now the public hero.
"'But you suppresses the facts, Abilene/ says Tutt,
addressin' that husband where he's tankin' up, 'when
you deescribes that treemenjus he'pmeet of yours as
simply "uppish." In view of what I now knows,
"uppish" ain't a two spot.'
" l It's with no purpose, Abilene,' observes Peets, as he
fills afresh his glass, 'to discourage one whom I sym
pathizes with as a onforchoonate an' reespects as a dead
game gent, that I yereby invites the entire pop'lation to
j'ine me over Wolfville's escape from your wife. An'
all informal though this assemblage be, I offers the hope
that this, the second of August, the date when the lady
allooded to pulls her awful freight, continyoo an' reemain
forever a day of annyool thanksgivin' in this camp.'
"Abilene seeks out Texas, an' extends his hand.
'Texas,' he says, 'it's shore low an' onmanly in me to
try an' drag you into misery sim'lar to my own. It's
done onder torture, Texas; an' because, as some poet
sharp says some'ers, "Misery loves company." '
"'Well,' returns Texas plenty sullen, an' takin' the
out-stretched hand sort o' slow, 'while, after sech ex
hibitions of weak selfishness as you-all puts up, I can't
say I'll regyard you as clean strain, I don't say I won't
forgive you none. Moreover, I shall look upon the
eepisode as a cloud not altogether without a silver linin',
if it serves to teach some headlong sports' yere he looks
hard at Peets an' Enright 'to stand paws-off, lettin'
well enough alone, should they in footure find a husband
an' wife livin' happily an' peacefully apart. ' "
AS to the size of that bundle Peets inherits,"
remarked the Old Cattleman, with the pains
taking manner of one who would like to be
accurate if he could " as to the actooal size of that bundle,
I never has preecise information. Peets himse'f sheds
no direct light on it, an* nacherally I don't go proselytin*
'round askin' him questions, bein' too well raised by
my folks. Boggs says once, in talkin* about it, that
it's big enough to choke a cow; which statement, while
calk'lated to excite admiration, don't go into deetails
sufficient to jestify a figger. The clostest any gent
ever comes to puttin' it down, book-keep fashion, is
Enright, who allows it's fifty thousand dollars. That's
a big pot of money, fifty thousand is, an' if you-all don't
mind I reckon I'll ring for the licker. The mention
of sech giant sums shore leaves my mouth as dry as a
"Fifty thousand dollars!" repeated the old gentleman,
after he had been refreshed. Then, musingly: "I
recalls the first big money I ever rounds up; which it's
a roll of ten thousand. I ain't likely to forget the sensa
tion none. For the first week I thought that ten thou
sand was a million dollars; after that I simply knowed
it was. How do I make it? Well, that's neither yere
nor thar. Besides, a gent can't tell two stories at once,
more'n a dog can chase two rabbits at once; wharf ore,
let's stick to the fifty thousand Peets' inherits that time.
"An* yet, to be c'rrect, it ain't a inheritance, emanatin'
as it does from folks who's no kin of Peets'. It's not ex-
ackly what I'd call a donation neither; it's more like a
pick-up, an' sort o' reeverts to Peets as the legit'mate
froots of his eddicational bow an' spear. You frequent
hears me mention how Peets is that wise he vis'bly up
lifts the mental average of Arizona. This time he
proves it; an* it's for that reason I'm allers speshul glad
the play comes off. It's refreshin', as markin' the troo
valyoo of science, to have a eddicated sport like Peets up
an* make a killin', by merely knowin' things at what
book-sharps call the croocial moment.
"It's the Deacon who's the instrooment seelected by
Fate to confer on Peets that treasure; none the less the
story, told proper, begins off to one side, with a malignant,
p'isenous form of hooman varmint, who signs the books
as Jaybird Home. Likewise, the yarn possesses other
elements of disj'intedness, doo to its bein' troo. Lies
allers flies straight as arrers towards whatever they're
aimed at, an' either misses or hurts or kills as the case
may be. Trooth is different a whole lot. It's more apt
to go wanderin' an' squanderin' an* zigzagin' all over the
map, like a pony with its bridle off. An' for causes
obv'ous: Lies is artificial, an' framed up for a purpose.
As ag'inst this, trooth is nacheral, an' in its 'nitial ap
pearance at least, never has no axe to grind. Which if
you'll only stop an' think, you'll see that this yere must
" The commencement of things then is when that out
cast Jaybird, ridin' a pinto pony an' hailin' from Lords-
burg, comes bulgin' into camp. He makes a more or
less mem'rable deboo; for a Red Dog loonatic called
Curly Simpson, who's projectin' 'round Wolfville at
the time, pulls his six-shooter, an' takes to cuttin' the
dust about Jaybird's moccasins, as soon as ever he hits
"'I'm feelin' deepressed an' low,' explains Curly that
a-way, 'an' if you'll kindly dance a little, it may serve to
cheer me up.'
"As though willin' to yoomer Curly, this Jaybird
shore does jump high an' sprightly, like a trant'ler;
wharupon Curly gets pleased with his agil'ty, to that
degree he cracks off all six loads like the rollin* of a drum.
When Curly's final cartridge is gone an* he's plumb
inokyoous, Jaybird, assoomin' a rattlesnake grin, pro-
dooces a derringer an' puts a bullet through his foot.
"'It 'ud be your locoed head,' says Jaybird, 'only most
likely sech feats involves me with the stranglers, for
which I ain't got time. Likewise, when next you in-
aug'rates a baile of this deescription, either pack a second
gun, or don't become so lib'rally profoose as to wholly
empty the one you has. You sees yourse'f that either
you ought to have saved your last cartridge, as a reeserve
ag'inst the onexpected, or been wearin' another pistol
so's to be ready, when called on, to back your crazy play.
My own notion, private, is to allers have the second gun,
as bein' better form. No gent, without sacrificin' his
standing can permit his wardrobe to bog down to where
he ain't got a change of guns/
"Inasmuch as this eepisode comes off in front of the
post-office, which is the next edifice to the Red Light,
most of us is thar. When Jaybird finishes his oration,
Enright, who's strong suit is bein' friendly to strangers
an' makin' 'em feel at home, explains that Wolfville
don't claim to be reespons'ble for Curly, him hailin'
from Red Dog.
"'An' I certainly hopes,' says Enright, 'that, onder the
circumstance, Curly's capers won't leave no sense of
annoyance, nor op'rate with you to queer the town/
"'None whatever!' returns Jaybird, mighty gala.
Then, to all of us : ' Gents, my name's Home Jaybird
Home; an' I makes no doubts but when this Curly Red
Dog person gets acquainted with me, he'll reespect me
an* walk 'round me like I'm a swamp/
" Curly is freighted over to Red Dog on a buckboard,
by virchoo of his game foot; an' Enright closes the in
cident by allowin' he's glad he gets it, as a lesson ag'inst
bein' so inordinate an' plumb reedundant with his
"'Leastwise,' says Enright, in concloosion, 'I don't
want Curly to come pirootin' over to Wolfville, givin'
rein to his witless activities no more/
"'Let's go into yon s'loon,' returns Jaybird, indicatin'
the Red Light, 'an* forget it over a bowl of snake-water.
Neither do I mind admittin', gents, seein' I'm feelin'
some languid myse'f when I rides in, how that little gun-
play, so far from irritatin', reelly relieves me an* falls
in nice with my moods.'
"With the start he makes, if Jaybird has the original
roodiments of a white man in him, he might have climbed
to what heights he chooses in public esteem. Wolfville
is generous to the p'int of bein' a proverb. It has its
tolerant rooles. You comes to Wolfville; an* it's as
though you're beginnin' life anoo. Your past is as
nothin' to that hamlet. It begins with you as you steps
from the stage. It don't ask your name; it asks 'What
may we call you ? ' an' leaves you, as a proodent gent, to
pick out what title is best adapted to your needs. As
you go romancin' along from day to day, it watches you;
an' final, it endorses you or lynches you as seems jest an'
mete. Which I've said all this yere before.
"Bein' moved up into commoonal fellowship, your
Wolfville foocher is asshored. Should you go broke, it
stakes you; should you marry, it shakes a festive laig at the
weddin'; should a papoose be bora to call you 'Daddy,' it
gets drunk with you; should you fall sick, it sets up with
you. Die? Shore, if you dies, it confers on you a
hon'rable sepulcher on Boot Hill, an' everybody attends
the obsequies that is everybody who's out of jail. You
notes, tharfore, that Jaybird's got the local makin' or
breakin' of himse'f wholly in his own hands, an' can
stand way up in the pictures if so inclined.
"That he ain't so inclined none, cuts less of a figger in
Jaybird's case perhaps, since it's plain from the jump
he don't aim to remain. However, in them few days he
does stay, he shore creates a black impression.
"An* at that I figgers it's more his atmosphere than
what he does. He's plenty reepellant, is this Jaybird
outlaw, an* you-all can smell villainy off him same as
you smells fire in a house. Physic'ly he's small an' wiry,
with bow-laigs from livin' a heap in the saddle. His
eyes is small an' has a weaselish look, same as belongs to
that egg-suckin' hen-huntin' breed of animals who can
see in the dark.
"Most of all, however, it's Jaybird's face that's
ag'inst him. For one thing, it peters out into one of
them little chins, sharp an' bony at the p'int, broad
at the corners of the jaw, like the jaws of snakes of p'isen
sort the chin of a murderer rather than a killer crooel,
skulkin', savage! No discreet gent, after seein' it,
would think of takin' off his guns while Jaybird's hanker-
"This Jaybird has one redeemin' trait; he's a born
gun sharp. Shore! he's among the soonest prop'sitions,
when he reaches for a six-shooter, I ever gets ag'inst.
Not that I encounters him none lethal; barrin' the foot
eepisode, wharin Curly quits loser, he don't offer to
shed no blood in Wolfville on that earlier occasion of his
"It's over in Chihuahua, which is that fragment of the
Wolfville body pol'tic where the Mexicans herd, that I
has a chance of countin' up Jaybird's gun-play. This
is what he does; an' I allers imagines he does it to fix
himse'f respectful upon the Greaser mind. He picks up
six chips off the lay-out of a saddle-colored party who's
dealin' monte, an' tosses 'em up in the air. They
spreads out, an' hangs for a moment like six blots
ag'inst the sky. That's all Jaybird reequires. As he
tosses up the chips, his hand goes to his gun; it's 'bang!
bang! bang! bang! bang! bang!' faster than you-all
can count, an* when them chips hits the ground ag'in
they're in dust an' little pieces.
"Which I witnesses some swift clean gun playin' from
time to time, but these yere performances of Jaybird is
ondoubted the bloo ribbon outburst of 'em all. Cherokee,
who's himse'f a pastmaster with a Colt's-45, gives it out
that, for suddenness an' ackeracy, he himse'f don't
stand no more chance with Jaybird than a pa'r of treys
in a jack-pot after the draw. That's straight; Jaybird,
personal, shore does possess a genius for firearms.
"Throughout the ten days Jaybird sojourns in our
midst, he don't do nothin' much. He ain't what you'd
call a drinker none, while at poker an' farobank he's
even more sparin*. In talk, he don't wax over-com-
moonicative, an', if he beetrays pecooliarities, it's in the
way he seems allers to be lookin' for some gent onknown.
Not that he goes spyin* about open an' apparent, or takes
to overtly rummagin' up the camp. Still it's as plain as
printed books he's on some gent's trail. It's this yere
hunt for that onknown which takes him over into Chi
huahua, the time he busts them monte chips. Hunt
as he may, however, Jaybird don't find his man; an' one
mornin' he flings the hull onto his little pinto hoss, an'
hits the trail for the no'th like he's satisfied he's been
dubbin* 'round on a dead kyard.
"Folks in Arizona is so migratory that strangers, in
their advents or departures, excites no remark. No one,
tharfore, heeds the goin' of Jaybird, more'n perhaps to
experience relief, same as if some centipede or stingin'
lizard's disappeared. Neither does the camp lift up its
astonished gaze none, when, mebby it's a week later, the
Deacon comes weavin' in.
"This yere Deacon boy breaks on me first across the
supper table at the O. K. Restauraw; I notices him
speshul because he's so plumb callow. His face is as
smooth an* young as Faro Nell's; an' he's that innocent
for looks, you're overwhelmned with wonder constant as
to how he comes to be caperin' about in Arizona at all
Arizona as a region bein* some turgid.
"It's Boggs who names him the 'Deacon;' an', since
his pinfeather innocence sort o' gives us a pray'r-meetin'
impression, we-all trails in an' calls him the Deacon
sim'lar. So far from resentin' said title, he not only
answers to it, but acts pleased.
"An' yet, that air of he'pless innocence is a heap mis-
leadin'. This Deacon boy is all the time a more deadly
problem even than the Jaybird, an' owns a fitfuller
Colt's. Which it goes to prove how deeloosive is mere
looks that a-way, an' sets a philosophic gent to thinkin'.
Laid side an' side, the egg of the eagle ain't in it with
a goose egg; but jest the same it holds a eagle.
"The Deacon ain't been a day in town before Jaybird,
with his pinto hoss, ag'in comes canterin' in. Not that
thar's anythin' irreg'lar or myster'ous in sech return; it's
tryin' to read the brands on what follows, which proves
sech a puzzle to the pop'lar mind.
"Yere's how eevents takes to pilin' themselves up.
It's well into the shank of the evenin', on the day Jaybird
gets back, an* we're all a heap onbuckled an* reelaxed.
Of a sudden, from some'ers out to the r'ar of Hamilton's
dance hall, we hears a gun bark once short an* sharp,
like the single bark of a dog.
"'Better sa'nter over, Jack,' says Enright, glancin' up
from his poker game to Jack Moore 'better sa'nter
over an* take a look in. One shot that a- way sounds
doobious; I've a notion some maverick's been put over
the big jump.'
"Thar's a sentiment of oneasy cur'osity all 'round,
which is sharpened when Jack returns, ridin' offishul herd
on the Deacon.
'"It's this yearlin',' says Jack. 'Whatever do you-
all reckon now he's done ? '
"'Which I shore can't say none,' observes Enright,
layin* down his kyards.
" 'I should gamble not! ' Jack retorts. 'I hopes I may
be eaten by red ants, if this Toothless kid ain't bumped off
that Jaybird. The latter prince of pistol shooters is
layin* out thar back of a mesquite bush, as dead as
"'Him down that Jaybird party!' exclaims Enright,
plumb took aback. 'Jack, it ain't feas'ble! It don't
lay in his yoothful moccasins!'
"'Ask him! 'says Jack.
" ' It's in se'f defence,' cuts in the Deacon. ' Jaybird
goes for his gun, an' I simply beats him to it.'
'"Do you-all mean to test'fy,' remarks Enright, slow
an' p'inted, 'that this Jaybird commences hostilities,
an' that you hives him after he takes to domineerin' at
you with his Colt's?'
"'That's whatever,' replies the Deacon, a heap on-
shaken. 'An' as to Jaybird bein* sudden with his
artillery, you don't want to forget I'm some abrupt
"Enright uplifts a reeprovin' hand. 'Stop/ he says.
'Son, this yere's onhinged you. Thar's gents present
who witnesses former what that Jaybird could do. In
the light of them exhibitions, I pronounces your state
ments preepost'rous. My advice is to say no more,
but devote yourse'f to silent meditations ontil the strang-
lers is convened.' "
THE HEIR OF THE BROKEN-O
THAT'S one of the excellent feachures about a
vig'lance committee, a feachure wharin they
lays over other triboonals. All onbiased, they
comes together before the witnesses grow lookewarm
or the facts turn cold. The time that Deacon boy
sends Jaybird flutterin' into the infinite, minutes don't
elapse before the committee calls itse'f to order in the
Red Light. What portion of the Wolfville public
ain't otherwise engaged, likewise assembles to listen an'
"Among the last, an* a heap up to the front, is a ven'r-
able gent with a full-moon face, an* a white fringe of
beard all round it like a frill. In spite of his looks, the
same bein* genial an' benevolent, an* plumb deevoid of
evil, thar's evidences onmistak'ble, in his rusty black
surtout an' tall hat, that the ven'rable party is a law-
wolf. None of us is shore; for it's only that evenin' Old
Monte brings him in, an' we ain't had no chance as yet to
feel him out personal. I'm thus elab'rate, since this aged
cimarron develops into quite a figger subsequent, though
at the go-off he lays mum an' dead, with nary move or
"When the committee's ready, Enright invites the
Deacon to onfold.
'"Which I already lays b'ar the facts/ responds the
Deacon. 'I'm in the dance hall virchoously disportin'
myse'f in a quadrille, the same bein' then an* thar pulled
off to the strains of Sandy Land. The last call has jest
been given, "All prom'nade to the bar!" when the floor
manager signs it up to me that my cousin Jaybird wants
to see me out back/
"'Your cousin!' says Enright.
"'Shore; this Jaybird's my cousin; leastwise my half
cousin, his pap an' mine bein' half brothers that a- way/
'"Quite right!' breaks in the moon-faced old law-wolf,
who's posted in the public foreground, payin' interested
heed. 'The lad's quite c'rrect, gents; their paps was
half brothers like he states/
'"Whoever is this disturbin' old person?' demands
Enright, some shocked.
'"He's a nov'lty to me/ returns the Deacon, as much
amazed as Enright.
'"Who 'ml?' says the moon-faced gent, in a protestin'
tone. 'Why I'm Jedge Bailey of the Austin bar, in-
cident'ly counsel for the Broken-O ranch. Also I has
business, pressin' an' private, with this yere culprit.'
'"Which the stranglers/ says Jack, layin' a hand on
the moon-faced party, 'has prior claims; an', onless you
reestrains your troublesome vivac'ty so as not to interrupt
that arm of jestice, I'll certainly have to lead you outside
an* side-line you a lot ontil the Deacon's guilt is declar'd/
'"No offence, gents/ says the moon-faced person,
mighty apol'getic. 'Most likely later, you'll invite me
to be heard/
THE HEIR OF THE BROKEN-O
"' Which if you-all knows anythin' worth hearm'/
observes Enright, 'it's a cinch we shall/ Then, wheelin'
on the Deacon ag'in, he remarks: 'Proceed with them
"'Thar's mighty little more to tell/ says the Deacon.
'Nacherally, I goes cavortin' out to meet my relative.
Not that we've been sech chums, neither him layin'
over me for age by considerable. Prior to this, I ain't
seen my Jaybird cousin but once, for closin' on three years,
countin' from last spring's round up, an' then our in
terview is mighty brief. However, when I meets him
to-night, thar's no mis-readin' the look on his face; he
shore means killin'. He's standin' jest inside the outer
rim of light from the r'ar winders of the dance hall, an'
the instant I appears he's got me covered. Thar's no
time for salyootations; an', bein' a nervous highstrung
sport myse'f, about the time Jaybird covers me I covers
him. If anythin', bein' defter, I shades his play a
trifle, an' as I says prior beats him to it. Thar, gents,
you've got it; I gives you the onmuzzled trooth.'
"'About you-all bein' sech a flash-light artist with a
gun/ observes Jack Moore: 'S'ppose you gives this con
vocation a spec'men of your handiwork.'
"Jack's been holdin' the Deacon's belt an' weepon,
havin' secoored 'em at the start. Removin' the five
cartridges that's left, he presents the Deacon with his
' ' Belt that piece of iron on yourse'f / says Jack, ' an',
as Enright gives the word, see if you gets the drop on me.'
"The Deacon smiles his smile of onsullied innocence,
an* buckles on the Colt's. Enright counts * one-two-
three!' Thar's nothin' like it! Lightnin' hangs fire by
compar'son! The Deacon's hand moves so quick it
baffles the committee, an' he gets the cold muzzle on Jack,
before that exec'tive so much as loosens his own gun in
"' That's s'fficient,' says Jack, as he reclaims the
Deacon's pistol; 'thar shore don't seem no elements of
ondoo delib'ration about your work.'
"'But why,' demands Enright, 'should this Jaybird
homicide seek to down you you his cousin ? Whatever
is his motive?'
"'That's too many for me,' returns the Deacon.
' However, one thing I knows is that over in Shakespear,
on said recent one occasion I crosses up with him since I
leaves the Brazos, he certainly does make some hostile
motions. That time, too, I has my eye on him, how
ever; an' inasmuch as he onderstands all about me bein'
some veheement with a gun myse'f, he refrains. Ropin'
round for his reasons in gunnin' for me, it may be thar's
money in my rubbin' out. To be wholly frank, gents,
I ain't none certain you-all couldn't borry ten thousand
dollars on my skelp right now, back on the Brazos.'
"'Folks,' breaks in the moon-faced gent ag'in, 'if you'll
permit, I reckon I can eloocidate a heap.'
"'Excoose me!' interrupts Jack; 'I sincerely regrets
bein' obleeged to buffalo a party of your ven'rable years,
but you forces my hand by this onlicensed boisterousness.'
"Jack's on the verge of puttin' the moon-faced gent
into the street, when Enright bids him deesist. ' Go on,'
THE HEIR OF THE BROKEN-O
says Enright to the moon-faced gent. 'Whatever's this
eloocidation you allows you're equal to?'
"'As I mentions former/ returns the moon-faced gent,
* I'm Jedge Bailey, counsel of the Broken-O, the same bein'
the ranch of the late Virge Home. Which you-all may
have heard of old Home, gents; they called him "Nine-
notch Virge," him havin' downed nine. But to get back:
I've come invadin' into these regions, on the trail of the
said Virge Home's heir an' laigatee, bein' the yooth now
yere on trial. Also I desires to add that his cognomen
is not "the Deacon," but Houston Home. His pap
cashin' in leaves him, as he stands yere, sole proprietor of
the Broken-O herds; which are e-normous.'
"'How e-normous?' asks Boggs, who's allers caught
by any mention of cattle.
"'How e-normous?' repeats the moon-faced gent.
' The Broken-O gets its runnin' irons onto nine thousand
calves last spring.'
"'Nine thousand calves!' says Boggs. 'That means
forty-five thousand head of cattle on the range. Texas'
yere he appeals to Texas Thompson 'what's the
valyoo of cattle on the Brazos?'
"'All I saveys,' says Texas, 'is that when my Laredo
wife gets her divorce, they rounds up two hundred head of
mine, an' sells 'em at public vandoo to pay costs an'
al'mony for six thousand dollars.'
"'Then this yere Broken-O outfit,' observes Boggs,
'ought to beat a million dollars!'
"'Come, gents,' breaks in Enright, rappin' for atten
tion, 'this ain't no inquiry as to the market price of steers.'
Then, to the moon-faced gent: 'What you tells is not
without interest; but them eloocidations you promises
ought to level themselves at oncoverin' what motives this
Jaybird sport could have for wipin' out the Deacon.
Onless deceased is locoed, I certainly sees no cause for
him carryin' on like the Deacon deescribes. I'm free to
remark that this Deacon boy's tale, of how his Jaybird
cousin tries to bushwack him, looks plenty gauzey.'
"As to the Jaybird's motives,' resoomes the moon
faced gent, 'I'm comin' to 'em. An' when I names 'em,
a black b'ar of your years an' sagacity will grasp 'em
plumb instanter. Seein* him an' the Deacon I accepts
your name for the latter yooth is all the reelations old
Virge Home has, in case of the Deacon's gettin' wiped
out, it's up to that Jaybird murderer, as next of kin, to
inherit the Broken-O. Likewise, I now ree'lizes the
preecise murderin' play the latter bandit has in felon
mind. He's missin' from the Brazos country, the mo
ment the drug sharps gives it out that Virge Home's goin'
to pass in his chips; an', in view of what's took place, I
makes no doubt his design, that a-way, is to bootcher
the rightful heir, an' cl'ar a bloody path for himse'f to the
estate. Gents' an' yere old moon-face acts like he's on
the brink of a set speech ' gents, this is shore a romance ! '
"Romance, yes,' interjects Enright; 'an' yet thar's a
corner or two into which I trusts you'll shed a ray of light.
How comes it, you bein' so thick with his dad, that this
yere Deacon yooth don't know you none? Also, why-
ever ain't he home on the Brazos, instead of surgin'
'round yere in Arizona where he don't belong?'
THE HEIR OF THE BROKEN-O
"'As to them primary inquiries/ replies the moon
faced gent, 'he don't know me none because he never
sees me none. I lives miles away from the Broken-O,
in Austin; moreover, I don't get hooked up with Virge
Home as counsel, ontil after this wanderin' heir vamoses
his old man's ranch. Concernin' this Deacon's reasons
for thus abandonin' the paternal camp-fire, I leaves you
to put them questions to him. If it's to be told, he's the
party to tell it, not me.'
"'Bein' by nacher frank an* open/ speaks up the
Deacon, 'I shore don't hesitate to say why I leaves home,
reservin' nothin' back. I'm goiil' on sixteen years at the
time, an' as a natif of Texas I boasts a haughty sperit.
Thar's a right smart sprinklin' of Mexicans back on the
Brazos, an' of course we-all Americans draws lines of
social sep'ration. Among other matters, the boys has
sep'rate swimmin' holes, one for us an' one for the Mex
ican yooth. One mornin' I goes down to lave myse'f
a lot, an' I leaves you to jedge my chagrin, gents, when I
finds the Caucasian hole alive with Greasers. By way
of reemonstrance, I turns in an' proceeds to chunk 'em
up, when all of a sudden about twenty of 'em swarms
ashore an' starts to crawl my hump. Thar's no use
talkin', them Greasers certainly does frale me good an*
fervent! As soon as I can make the round trip, I gets
back to the swimmin' hole from the ranch with a 10-
gauge shotgun an' fifty buckshot cartridges. I'll not
put no figger on how many I cuts off, but, you hear me!
I plays even for the Alamo right thar. When the mas
sacre's over, it strikes me the neighbors somehow may
find fault; some of 'em is mighty narrow, that a- way, an*
they may say I overplays my hand. With this on my
mind, I streaks it for Arizona, an' never does go near the
Broken-O ag'in. The trooth is, I don't aim to go back
now, onless I receives guarantees.'
* ' Fear not! ' puts in the moon-faced gent, reasshorin'ly ;
'them Brazos neighbors long ago settles that what you
does is nothin' worse than a boyish prank.'
"'Well,' resoomes Enright, some thoughtful, 'the
sityooation don't offer that concloosive evidence we dee-
mands before we stretches a gent. None the less I
don't credit this Deacon boy's claims that the Jaybird
pulls on him first. Thinkin' he observes s'spicious
moves on the part of that deceased relative, when he meets
up with him over in Shakespear, the Deacon bein'
called from the dance hall like he is, gets stampeded; an'
tharupon he slaughters the onthinkin' Jaybird in his con-
f oosion. Don't you regyard that as a s'lootion, Doc ? '
"Peets has been oncommon silent doorin' the hearin',
but at Enright's question he begins movin' up to the fore.
'"This Deacon boy,' says Peets, not replyin' to En-
right direct, 'tells us that the Jaybird has him covered.
Now I examines departed, an' the bullet that takes him
from us goes in his right side, jest below the shoulder,
an', traversin' the body, lodges in the heart a wound
that's fatal frequent. To science all things is plain,
an' the trooth easy to run down. Gents, the facts at issoo
ain't camped a minute ahead.'
'"Tharupon Peets prodooces one of them jim-crow
deevices he calls a probe, an' enters upon experiments.
THE HEIR OF THE BROKEN-O
We-all holds our breath to watch. Thar it is, shore
enough! When Jaybird's arm is extended, same as is a
gent's when he goes to shoot, the bullet hole is clean an*
oninterrupted. Put his arm down by his side as in times
of peace, an* var'ous an* sundry muscles, slidin* them
selves one across the other, closes the bullet hole up.
The probe won't enter. Goin' to a deeduction, Peets
gives his word as a medical sharp that the Deacon tells
the trooth, an' corrals Jaybird after that brigand's in
p'sition to wage war. That ends it; by direction of En-
right we throws the Deacon loose, an' Jack Moore gives
back his gun.
"'Tharby reestorin' your standin' as a cit'zen,' says
"' Which I'm glad the kyards comes out of the box as
they does,' remarks Boggs, with a sigh of relief. 'The
idee of hangin' a millionaire that a-way palls on me.
Hangin' rich folks shore does go ag'in my grane!'
"'If a millionaire is guilty, why?' demands Texas
Thompson, some severe. 'Thar ain't one jestice for the
rich, an' another for the pore. For myse'f, I favors
hangin' rich men. Rich men, speakin' gen'ral, comes to
be a mighty sight like fat hawgs; as a roole they ain't
no good to other people till they're dead.'
"'You may be right Texas/ returns Boggs; 'jest the
same, when it gets down to hangin' a millionaire, them
thoughts of all the fun he could have, blowin' in his bank
roll, shore op'rates to stay my hand. Hangin' a pore
man now don't affect me so much; it's easier, like as if
you're puttin' some suff'rer out of his misery.'
"It's six months later when Peets receives a letter from
the Deacon, said eepistle runnin* in these words:
" BROKEN-O RANCH,
" On the Brazos.
" MISTER PEETS, M. D.,
"DEAR SIR: My old pap makes a will, an' leaves a
leg'cy to Jaybird, as his nephy, that calls for five figgers
to express. The balance of the Broken-O estate, the
same bein' plenty rotund, he confers on me. The Jay
bird's happily extinct, an' nacherally I inherits his share,
thar existin' no one nearer of the Home fam'ly. Havin'
in mind my se'frespect, I firmly refooses to profit by said
Jaybird's deemise, a stand which you as a high-strung*
gent will jestify. An' yet somethin' must be done with
Jaybird's share. Rememberin' what I owes to you-all,
an' the noble science which you represents, I've deecided
to onload it on you, an' yereby encloses a draft drawn
ag'in the Austin bank for full amount. I remain,
" HOUSTON HORNE."
"'What do you think yourse'f, Sam?' asks Peets.
' Would you accept said riches?'
"'Would I accept?' says Enright. 'Doc, sech ques
tions sounds plumb childish!'
"And then what?" I asked, as the old gentleman
rapped the ashes from his beloved briar root, preparatory
to retiring for the night.
"Then what? My son, W T olfville's temperachoor,
taken at normal, is high; but in the week which ensoos on
the heels of that Broken-O laigacy to Peets, it's shore
carried to altitoods compared to which the term 'timber-
line' sounds marshy."
THE ROSE OF WOLFVILLE
HER real name is Sarah Jane McElleney,"
observed the old gentleman as we settled to
our customary talk; "I knows, because
Cherokee Hall says he sees her former over in Silver
City, when he's temporarily turnin' faro-bank for that
camp. Of course when Cherokee gives the lady's
name, it's regyarded, to use the expression of Peets
who's shore the soonest sharp! as 'res adjoodicata.'
As a historian, Cherokee is freequent ackerate, some
times peevish an' allers firm, an' to go dispootin'
about his facts mighty likely leads to onhealthful com
plications. When she's in Silver City accordin' to
Cherokee she's workin' in the Palace Emporium, sellin'
two-dollar shirts for ten. Concernin' them prices, I can
well believe it; for she's certainly the guilefullest sales
lady that ever slams furnishin' goods or wheedles a gent
across a counter.
"It's Peets who hails her as the 'Rose of Wolfville;'
for, aside from bein' the best eddicated gent in the South
west, he's also the most poetic. Bein' she's as pretty as
a heart flush, the camp adopts his deescriptif. Subse
quently, we adheres to said title on account of the thorns.
Which as an outfit we shore does prick our fingers on
the Rose; to say nothin' of 'Gene Stevens an' Eldorado
Bob prickin* theirs speshul!
"These yere sev'ral happening I'm borderin' on,
bobs up when Tutt an' Tucson Jennie's been married
a year, an' that transcendent infant, Enright Peets Tutt,
is mebby goin' on a month. An' I allers lays the part
Peets takes in this embroglio, wharof the Rose is the
bloomin' but onsatisfactory center, to the inflooence of
little Enright Peets. Folio win' the awful sityooation he
precip'tates in bringin' on Abilene's wife that time,
Peets gets mighty tame, an' conducts himse'f a heap
proodent an' conserv'tive. It's the comin' of Tucson
Jennie's baby which ag'in sets him to ghost-dancin';
for in his exhileration he feels, to the chubby extent of
little Enright Peets, like Wolfville is on velvet, an' as a
troo gambler he's for stickin' to the system which pro-
dooces that infant, an' doublin' the stakes.
"It's some prob'ble, too, that when it comes to fo-
mentin' wedlock for other people, Peets like all doctors
is preematoorly prone, not to say profession'ly over-
eager that a- way. I says this of Peets advised; for Wolf
ville, in its domestic expressions, don't wholly jestify
his onflaggin' zeal in cappin' wedlock to win.
" When it comes to provin' matrimony to be a onchal-
lenged vict'ry, Wolfville don't go all one way. This is
pecooliarly troo in the case of the Ruckers, the same, as a
warnin', bein' onder our nose constant. Relyin', as we
do an' must, on the O. K. Restauraw for our daily flap
jacks an' salt hoss, Rucker's thralldom is necessar'ly a
open page. Missis Rucker, while a lady possessed of a
THE ROSE OF WOLFVILLE
multitood of esteemable virchoos, in her wifely attitood
towards Rucker is plumb despotic; to sech degrees,
in trooth, that no one blames him much when he goes
limber-footin' off that time to j'ine the Apaches, an*
throw a line of them savages between himse'f an' his
domestic bliss. Shore, we rounds him up later, an*
drags him back to Missis Rucker's arms; but sech steps
is took on other grounds entire. However, to return
to the Rose of Wolfville, whom we leaves bloomin*
"Wolfville has no notice preev'ous of the comin' of
the Rose. She deescends upon us like a fallin' star, an'
goes to clerkin' in the New York Store. It shore shows
that Armstrong, who owns said mart, knows his business;
for the stampede to buy handkerchiefs an' b'iled shirts,
after the Rose gets thar, is without preecedent in local
commerce. Also it's a blow at the Red Light, which
public reesort don't sell half the rum of yeretofore. I
don't exaggerate; thar's never no sech prior rush of cus
tom in the territory, as sets in ag'inst the New York Store
after the Rose appears. I knows folks that never ontil
then owns four shirts contemp'raneous, who instantly
1 ' Which it's the Rose's smile does it,' explains Boggs,
who's gone broke on neckties an' sim'lar frivol'ties.
* She certainly does leer at a gent a heap tender, when he's
"At that the Rose's amiability is wholly confined to
business hours; when any of us cuts her trail outside, she's
as formal as a fooneral, an' never as a roole notices our ex-
istence more'n if we're horned toads. Now an' then, to
be shore, when some dead game gent takes off his som
brero, she bows; but the bow is as short an* cold as a
winter's day. It's her system, I reckon. Meet her
behind the counter, an' she's as warmly beamin' as the
August sun at noon; cross up with her at the post-office,
or Missis Rucker's, or in the street, an' icicles is feverish to
"The Rose has been breakin' trade records for Arm
strong mebby it's a month, when Peets excited, as
stated, by the sight of little Enright Peets begins agit-
atin' 'round about some gent marryin' her an' settlin'
" Don't go ropin' at me none to assist, Doc,' reemon-
strates Enright, to whom Peets is allowin' what a
setback to Wolfville it is for the Rose to continyoo single
that a-way; 'I don't figger I care for kyards in any
more fam'ly-foundin' plays. That fool bluff we runs,
in bringin' on Abilene's wife, lets me out complete. I
never thinks of the eediotic plot we formyoolates that
time, without goin' out doors to blush.'
"'You'll pardon me, Sam?' says Peets, plenty digni
fied, 'if I protests ag'in your pose of cool indiff'rence.
Thar's a debt, let me reemind you, which you owes to
Wolfville. Emigration, as a element of commoonal
growth, is excellent up to a certain p'int; but all author
ities on nation buildin' agrees that you-all can't put your
swell bet on it. Folks is a heap too itinerant. They
comes an' goes like the old woman's soap; they're yere
to-day an' thar to-morrow. What Wolfville needs is
THE ROSE OF WOLFVILLE
increases natif to the soil same as that wonder of the
centuries, little Enright Peets. Think whatever for
a boast it would be, if Wolfville could p'int to a home
grown herd of children, big enough to stock a school!
Marriage is the way to bring sech proud conditions to
pass. Assoomin' the Rose to be linked in lovin' matri
mony to some trusty sport like Dan yere, who shall say
that, led along by the glorious example of Tutt an*
Tucson Jennie, they won't go romancin' off in exploits
similar to little Enright Peets? Whatever do you say
yourse'f , Dan ? ' concloods Peets turnin' to Boggs, who's
been listenin' some impressed. 'What's the matter of
you gettin' chips, pullin' a cha'r up to the sityooation,
an', for the advancement of a Wolfville footure, winnin'
out this Rose lady ? Jest consider how, in sech eevents,
we puts it all over Red Dog/
'" Which we've got that deboshed hamlet jumpin'
sideways as it is,' returns Boggs. 'As for me marryin'
the Rose, while I'd shore admire to make the dulcet trip,
it would be playin' it a heap too low down on any lady,
to go sawin' off on her matrimonially, sech a long-horn
as me. Now if I'm some cornfed tenderfoot, it would
most likely be different a whole lot.'
"'Dan,' interjects Peets, 'this yere hoomility, while
it does you credit, likewise does you wrong.'
" ' But, Doc,' persists Boggs, ' I ain't seedentary enough
for a husband. I've lived too much in the cow-camps,
too little in a house. I knows my deefects; an', while
I'm not oncap'ble of frauds, when it comes to goin' in on
a cold collar an' deloodin* some innocent lady into leadin'
me to the altar, you bet it's a play too neefarious for my
'"Dan/ warns Texas Thompson, who's drawn up in
time to hear the last; 'don't you go leadin' no ladies to
the altar. Ladies is a brace game. I never reeflects
upon that Laredo wife of mine, who gets the divorce,
but it shore gives me cold feet. It's the wise gent who,
in this yere matter of wedlock, holds himse'f onwaverin'ly
"'Texas,' reemonstrates Peets, 'sech herisies is plumb
mortifyin' to your friends. Likewise they p'ints to a
selfish narrowness on your part, that's far from doin'
you credit. You're altogether illogical. You go pesterin'
'round a bee-tree, an' get all stung up a lot. An' then
you passes the rest of your carpin' days, declar'in' thar's
no honey in the world!'
'"(Understand, gents all,' exclaims Texas, for, as
backin' up Peets' reproaches, he notes disapproval in
Enright's eye; 'onderstand, I ain't aimin' none to head
Dan off. What I says is that, accordin' to my experience,
matrimony works out a good deal like eatin' off the same
plate with a grizzly b'ar. Sho'!' an' Texas can't
reepress a shudder 'I'd as soon think of pettin' a wolf!
The mere idee brings on a attack of the fantods!'
'"Aside from any Wolfville interest,' observes Peets,
disregyardin' the last remarks of Texas, whom he looks
on as a hopeless pess'mist, ' I don't consider it's publicly
safe for the Rose to go trackin' round without a husband.
It's too much like havin' some onauthorized six-shooter
lyin' 'round, loaded to the brim; it opens too wide a
THE ROSE OF WOLFVILLE
chance for accidents. I'd sooner some gent would come
meanderin' along an' own it a lot; in which case, if harm
ensoos, we has a place to start from in fixin' reesponsi-
"'Doc/ says Faro Nell, speakin* across the lay-out
to Peets, for the talk comes off in the Red Light, while
Cherokee is dealin' bank; 'why don't you cull this yere
Rose yourse'f ? What's the matter of thar bein' a Missis
"'It wouldn't do at all, Nellie,' returns Peets, shakin'
his head. 'I'm a medicine man; wedlock is plumb for
bid by the ethics of my game.'
"Me bein' a bachelor," said the old gentleman, after
pausing to re-light the briar-root, "ladies, if not a
sealed book to me, at least is writ in a furrin' tongue; I
can't make nothin' of 'em, an' never could. Wharfore,
it's beyond me to go layin' b'ar the motives which onder-
lies the conduct of the Rose, from this time for'ard. All
I can do is reelate what happens, in the order it deevel-
opes, an' leave it to you-all to read the brands on eevents
as they troops by.
"Followin' the pow-wow reelated, Peets does nothin'
in partic'lar. Not but what he has the will; only no
openin' occurs to cut in for action. I reckons, also,
that Enright an' Boggs layin' down on the game like
they do, sort o' daunts him; to say nothin' of them
loogoobrious reeflections of Texas. For all that, this
yere enterprise of marryin' off the Rose don't go to sleep.
Only it breaks forth in new an' onexpected forms.
"It's this a-way: 'Gene Stevens an' Eldorado Bob
are riders on Enright's Bar-B-8 ranch, an* belongs at one
of his sign camps over by the Tres Hermanas. They're
young, smooth, handsome boys, straight as lances, slim
an* limber as panthers, an* to see either of 'em in the
saddle is like hearin' a toone of music. Up to this yere
eepock, they eats out o' the same bake-kettle, sleeps onder
the same blankets, an' in all reespecks gets along together
as peaceful an' friendly as two pups in a basket.
"One bright mornin', mebby it's a week after Peets
makes that talk, these young an' boundin' sports rides
into Wolfville. As they goes curvin' about, they gets
simultaneous eyes on the Rose. Which it's the beginnin'
of the end; from that moment their infatchooation is
obv'ous. That lady simply goes over their ontried sen-
sibil'ties like a landslide!
"Aimin' to remain for a day when they rides in, they
stays a week; an' doorin' said period you can't drive 'em
out o' the New York Store with a gun. Absolootely,
they becomes sort o' spellbound about this Rose, to a
degree where Enright begins to notice. Poss'bly, it's
the boys over-drawin' their pay, months in advance,
which first attracts Enright's attention. By that time,
however, neglectful of Bar-B-8 interests utter, they've
as stated been hankerin' round town for mighty nigh a
"Enright when he learns, is plumb scandalized.
'Whatever would you think, Doc!' says Enright; 'them
two cimarrons ain't rode a mile of my lines for seven
days! That means a shore hundred head of Bar-B-8
cattle has done drifted across into Mexico! You can
THE ROSE OF WOLFVILLE
gamble them Greasers, over about Casa Grande, is havin'
a beef picnic all right/
"'Never mind/ observes Peets, a heap soothin'
Peets sees what's afoot from the jump, but don't say
nothin' for fear Enright drives 'Gene an' Eldorado back
on the range 'never mind, Sam; let 'em play around
a while, ontil the Rose picks one of 'em out. It would
shore be a crime ag'in the body pol'tic, to go sp'ilin'
nuptials which I now perceives is not only certain but
clost. Ain't it wonderful how, jest as I'm settin' down in
despair, this yere marital trick begins to up an' turn
THE ROSE J S THORNS
CLOSE-HERDED by Peets, who won't let any of
us so much as bat a eye or wag a y'ear lest we
disconcerts the love-makin', we-all lays mighty
low an* quiet. The eyes of the camp is riveted on the
Rose, to see when she commences to thaw; an* towards
which gent. So far, it looks like 'Gene an' Eldorado is
splittin' about even. Nacherally, with both of 'em
hangin' 'round the New York Store from the time Arm
strong onlocks the doors in the mornin' ontil he locks 'em
up ag'in at night, they arrives at a closer acquaintance
with the Rose than does the rest of us. However, that
virgin, as between 'em, in no wise evinces partiality. If
she capers over to the O. K. Restauraw for her noonday
chuck with Eldorado, she prances back to the store ag'in
with 'Gene; an' thar you be. The tangle shore does
keep us shiftin' our stacks, an' guessin'.
"'Which I'll bet a hatful of bloo chips it's 'Gene/
says Boggs, banterin' Texas for a wager.
"'Not with me,' returns Texas, a heap solemn. 'I'm
some heartless as a sport, but I'd no more spekyoolate
on a gent gettin' married than on a gent gettin' lynched.'
"This lovin' see-saw between 'Gene an' Eldorado
goes on for a fortnight, by which time they've ceased to
THE ROSE'S THORNS
drink together, an' glowers plenty fierce when they
"'The plot is thickenin'/ says Peets, rubbin' his
hands. 'In less'n another month that lady'll declar'
'"They'll take to shootin', them boys will, long e'er
that/ says Enright. 'Which I don't so much mind
them lovers abandonin' my cattle, Doc/ he continyoos,
his manner plenty nervous; 'but I'm in hourly fear of
'em lowerin' their horns at one another. My y'ears is
expectin' the crack of a Colt's-45 any minute!'
"'How would it be/ asks Jack Moore, 'for me, in
my capacity as kettle tender for the stranglers, to denoode
'em of their hardware?'
'"That wouldn't seem preecisely the thing neither/
returns Enright. 'With the rest of us packin' our
guns, it would shore appear invidious to go strippin'
them boys of their bric-a-brac. Besides, Jack, bein' in
love that a- way most likely makes 'em fretful, an' they'd
t'ar into you for war. Which is what we're tryin' to
"'I'm a fair jedge of bloodshed in its approach/
says Peets, 'an' I don't see no signs as yet. S'ppose we
stands pat, an' keeps a sharp watch. At the first symp
toms of trouble, we'll be down upon 'em like a passel
of 'possums on a couple of persimmons. To move
now would be to queer the play; whereas, if we gives
the Rose time, it's a cinch she'll make up her mind.'
'"Well, I shore wishes she would!' reemarks En-
right, plenty fervent, 'I certainly don't hone none to
have two of my best riders go to shootin' each other in
two over this damsel/
"'Thar ain't a chance!' reesponds Peets.
"'Doc/ breaks in Texas, dark an* savage; 'them
coquettes revels in bein' the cause of bloodshed, an'
regyards murder in the light of compliments/
" ' Reely Texas/ says Peets, his tones hard an' severe,
'you over-steps the bounds even for a gent who's been
made the victim of a lady's crooelty. This Rose ain't no
coquette; her cirklin' in an' out about 'Gene an' Eldorado,
first with one an' then the other, is nothin' more'n the
gentle hesitancy of a dove about to 'light/
"'That may be, Doc/ observes Enright; 'an* yet, I
can't avoid wishin' she'd pick out her perch. Or,
should she consider sech perch-pickin' as ongirlish, if
this maiden would only up an' confide in some discreet
gent private, as to which she'd ruther have, it might do.
In sech case, we deevotes ourselves to gettin' the wrong
boy out o' camp. Between us, Doc, havin* regyard to
our p'sition in the commoonity, an' in the interests of
peace an* to save life, I thinks it our dooty to approach
her on that p'int.'
"'I ain't none shore but you're right/ returns Peets,
sort o' ponderin'. 'Leastwise, for that an' sundry
other reasons, I won't say I ain't in favor of smokin'
her out. A little gentle interference might be the winnin'
play; ladies likes to have their hands crowded. Sam,
if you'll come with me an' back the game, I'll offer the
Rose her choice between 'Gene an' Eldorado right now.
That's it; we'll shore make her take to a tree or go into a
THE ROSE'S THORNS
hole! The Rose, too, will be grateful for us bringin'
things to a head; while she'll blush, an* mebby pout some,
she'll thank us in her heart/
"Although Enright ain't none entranced with the
su'gestion to go see the Rose at once, he believes the
prospecks to be crit'cle, an' yields. Wharupon Peets an'
him goes pirootin' off on their embassy of love an' peace
Peets, game as pheasants, in the lead. Boggs, who's
allers plumb inquis'tive, follows teeterin' along in the
r'ar to size up the play.
"This yere is how Boggs reports them proceedin's:
"'Peets opens,' says Boggs, 'an* offers a line of argy-
ment about the rectitoode of his intentions, the jsame
makin' no impressions as far as I can jedge. Then he
deemands to know whichever she's goin' to tie down,
'Gene or Eldorado.
"'Thar's nothin' goin' on in the store at the time, an'
the Rose is over on the grocery side, eatin' a ginger cookie.
As the Doc is talkin' I can see her color mount, an' I
half allows she's goin' to la'nch some pound weights,
that's lyin' loose an' handy on the counter, at the Doc's
head. She does have some sech idee, but puts it aside;
final, she stands glarin' like a wronged lioness. You bet,
gents, I wouldn't have been in them sports' moccasins
for a herd of cattle!
"While the Rose stands thar, glarin' an' pantin',
Enright breaks in all soft an' persuasif. "What I fears,
Miss," says he, "is that these yere boys'll take to pawin'
for trouble with each other. You-all shore don't want
the young male persons of this village to go shootin'
each other all up?" The Rose still stands thar sayin'
nothin' but lookin' that f'rocious she could eat the sights
off a Winchester. "Which if you reely knows these
yooths, Miss," goes on Enright, "an* how their hearts
is as soft that a- way as two goose-ha'r pillows, you'd
certainly pity 'em a lot."
"'It's then,' continyoos Boggs, 'I sees the Rose begin-
nin' to pull herse'f together for a verbal spring. Which
I won't attempt her words none; the burnin' eloquence
of that gifted lady is beyond me! As a deebater she
shore lays over a quartette of kings an' a ace! An' say!
the way she does t'ar into the Doc an' Enright is a lesson
to bobcats! I don't overstate, gents, when I says that
she gets enough of their hides to make a saddle cover.
At the close, she stamps her foot like a buck antelope;
an' all with a proud high look that reeminds me a mighty
sight of a goddess. It's the only time I ever sees the Doc
wholly discouraged. As for Enright, I feels sorry for the
old silver-tip, he's that abashed.'
"We-all has to content ourselves with Boggs' story,
for Enright an' Peets, when they comes weavin' back
to the Red Light, don't say nothin'. They jest stands
at the bar, consoomin' Old Jordan with a preeockepied
air, like they're mentally countin' up the pot to see who's
"Finally it's Enright who speaks: 'Which I begins
to wonder less'n less,' says he, 'at the morose attitoodes
of Texas to'ards ladies.'
'"That Rose is some fiery, an' that's a fact!' ree-
marks Peets musingly.
THE ROSE'S THORNS
"Sayin' which, the two closes up as mum an* moote
as a basket of clams. Their looks is enough, though
bein' that glum they'd frighten children or sour milk.
"It's second drink time in the evenin', an' a soft quiet,
broken only by the muffled flutter of a stack of chips,
preevails. We're most of us in the Red Light, when all
of a sudden the brisk tones of 'Gene breaks on the
"'Which I've nothin',' says he, 'but my love an' my
gun; the one's for the Rose, an' t 'other's for reevenge.
Eldorado, it's up to you to fill your hand!'
"The artillery starts to bark an' buck-jump with the
last word, an' riots on for about four shots a side. Bein'
not without experience, those of us who ain't involved
crouches behind bar'ls an' ducks down back of the coun
ter, so's to be out of the way of the flyin' lead. Thar
ain't much resk; with two cool hands like 'Gene an'
Eldorado workin' the batteries, we-all is safe enough.
"When the shootin's over, we begins to count up the
casyooalties. We gropes about in the smoke an' finds
'Gene, hit some hard in the shoulder; an' next we locates
Eldorado rollin' 'round on the floor, a mighty commo
dious hole in his side. Peets, who accompanies 'em to
Missis Rucker's to bandage 'em an' bed 'em down, gives
it as his professional opinion later that they'll live;
which said assoorance rolls a stone from off our appre
"'An' yet,' says Enright, drawin' a deep breath, 'yere
we be, an' nothin' adjusted! Thar's all this shootin'
an' blood-lettin', an' the camp all torn up, an' most
likely the whole deal to go over ag'in! That's one of
the disturbin' elements, Doc, about an even break.'
"It's the next day when a fresh feachure is added to
the sityooation; the Rose, harnessed in her best bib an'
tucker, takes the stage for Tucson. As she departs, she
never expresses the least solic'tood touchin' them lovers
lyin' all shot up.
"'An' some mavericks thinks ladies is tender!' com
"'You don't onderstand, Texas!' says Peets, almost
losin' his temper. 'With both boys creased, it wouldn't
be delicate for the Rose to go expressin' preferences.
Wait till she gets back; then if she don't go driftin'
round the neck of whichever is her sweetheart, I'm a
"'Shore!' exclaims Boggs; 'I strings my money with
the Doc's! It's perfec'ly cl'ar to me, that the Rose has
only gone squanderin' off to pick out her trooseau. I
hopes she makes it bloo; bloo's my fav'rite tint.'
"Armstrong, in reesponse to pop'lar eagerness, allows
that the Rose will be back in a month.
"'By which period,' says Peets, 'I'll have them cava
liers on their pins, ready for the Rose to make her seelec-
tions. You'll see, Sam' addressin' Enright, who's
takin' a morbid view ' that this yere'll come winner on
"Next evenin' about sundown, Old Monte, wropped
in the yoosual dust cloud, is seen bringin' in the stage on
"'The same bein' a bad omen,' declar's Boggs.
THE ROSE'S THORNS
'Whenever that old drunkard's the b'arer of bad news,
he allers hurries.'
"'It's all over!' shouts Old Monte, never waitin'
to kick free the mail bags or tumble off the express box.
'That Rose girl, the instant the stage stops last night in
front of the Oriental S'loon, grabs off a Tucson sport
who's lyin' in wait for her, an* sashays off to be married.
Gents, I couldn't believe my eyes! It's plumb troo,
however; an' the barkeep at the Oriental gives me his
word that said outcast who gets her has been engaged to
the Rose for months. Figger on my feelin's, when I
reecalls how 'Gene an' Eldorado is lyin' he'pless, while
their rights is bein' thus heartlessly trifled away! I'm
for takin' the express shotgun, an' maimin' the preacher
or mowin' down the bridegroom! But the Tucson mar
shal wouldn't have it, gents; he cuts in between me an'
them two kidnappers an' stan's me off. I couldn't he'p
it none; that Rose girl is lost to 'Gene an' Eldorado an'
the rest of us for good!'
"At the finish, Old Monte gives a deeper groan than
ever, an' havin' told his bad news, seizes on the affair
to go on what Boggs calls a 'public drunk* to show how
bad he feels.
"Thar's nothin' spoke for a while. Ever sober an'
sympathetic, Black Jack makes a row of bottles the
len'th of the Red Light counter; bein' a astoote barkeep,
he saveys what the occasion reequires. At last Enright
breaks the silence.
"It looks, Doc,' says he, 'like the Rose has rung in a
cold hand on us?'
"Peets don't reply, bein' tongue-tied of chagrin.
"'Which I has preemonitions from the go-off/ observes
Texas, a heap pompous, 'that this yere Rose lady ain't
on the level about them boys. But why preetend
s'prise ? It's nothin' more'n another instance of woman
'"Whatever be you-all wolves howlin' about, I'd like
for to ask ? ' puts in Faro Nell, who's assembled with the
rest. 'I don't see nothin' wrong this Rose girl's done;
an', bein' a girl myse'f, you bet I'm a jedge. When it
comes to losin' her heart, she has a right to place her bets
to suit herse'f, as Cherokee'll tell you; an' Wolfville,
instead of grouchin' an' grumblin', ought to be proud to
turn for her.'
"'Gents,' says Enright, pullin' himse'f together, 'the
present is a profound instance of "out o' the mouths of
babes an' sucklin's." Nell is right. The more I consid
ers, the less I'm able to see where this Rose lady exceeds
her rights. An' if she does, what can we-all do about it ?
ladies is that ongovern'ble! By word of Armstrong,
I onderstands the Rose will presently reeturn to us, an*
make her home yere. Let us tharfore, for the honor
of Wolfville, be prepared to whoop it up as she trails in
with her prey. While she ain't preecisely pleased us none,
an' would have come nearer to ticklin' us to death if she
pitches on one of them pore wounded boys across the
way, she most likely pleases herse'f which is the next
best chicken on the roost. The reeflection, too, should
cheer us that, since she's goin' to pitch her household
camp among us, the town's bound to be ahead on the
THE ROSE'S THORNS
deal. Askin' every gent's pardon for so long a speech,
which, however, considerin' how the hands has been
runnin' may not prove in vain, I invites the onprejew-
diced opinions of our friend, the Doc, on the subjecks
"*Sam, as yoosual, you've stated my feelin's to a
ha'r,' responds Peets, who's by now recovered his aplomb.
1 Onder all the circumstances, while perhaps the Rose does
deal herse'f a hand from the bottom, I sees no real room
for cavil. So confident am I tharof that, askin' all to
yoonite with me, I yereby freights my glass to the Rose
of Wolfville an' the tarrapin she's roped up." 1
SANDY CARR, VIOLINIST
DO you-all believe in ghosts?" asked the old
gentleman one evening, the while cocking a
questioning eye through the tobacco smoke.
I replied, almost indignantly, with an emphatic negative.
"No more do I," he returned thoughtfully "no more
do I. An* yet I've been afraid of 'em all my life.
"Not that I ever encounters a spook," he continued,
after a moment's silence; "leastwise never but once.
It's the ghost of Sandy Carr; an', you hear me! that
specter shore terrifies Wolfville to a degree which leaves
it as flat as a field of turnips. Boggs is scared speshul,
an' it looks like his mind is onhinged for a time. Still
he ain't so much to blame; for this yere wraith takes
to chasin' him about personal, an' runs him for more'n
"It's this a- way: We-all likes Sandy a whole lot,
an' Boggs, who's always took by sick folks an' ladies an'
weak people gen'ral, likes him partic'lar. He's been
with us quite a spell, Sandy has, an', bein* he's leadin'
voylinist at Hamilton's dance hall, ockyoopies a front
place in the camp's best social cirkles. Moreover, he's
an Americano: and since the balance of them virchuosoes
is Dutch, Sandy sort o' stands out. Enright knowed
SANDY CARR, VIOLINIST
Sandy's old pap back in Tennessee, an' that of itse'f
puts him 'way up in the picture kyards.
"When Sandy makes his deboo among us, he allows
it's on account of his lungs, him bein' behind the game,
pulmonary. Doc Peets, however, scouts the idee. Peets
goes all through Sandy with a lantern, an* gives it as
his jedgment it's his heart.
"'Which I don't reckon it makes much difference
neither/ says Sandy, mighty careless for he's plumb re
signed that a-way 'seem' either one of 'em's a center
'" Nonsense 1' says Peets, who's for stiff enin' people's
nerve. 'Thar ain't no more chance of you packin' in
than of holdin' a royal flush.'
"That's what Peets imparts to Sandy; but he puts the
rest of us on private, that Sandy, when it comes to livin',
ain't got a look-in.
"'It may be to-morry,' says Peets; 'an' then ag'in it
may be years. Soon or late, however, pore Sandy'll
blink out like a candle.'
"'Which he gets it from his folks,' says Enright;
'Sandy's old man is plenty puny.'
"Bern* he's on what he deescribes as 'waitin' orders,'
Sandy employs himse'f , as I states, fiddlin' in the dance
hall. An' he's a shore genius when it comes to combinin'
rosin, hoss-ha'r an' catgut, in what Colonel Steritt
in the Daily Coyote calls 'a harmonious whole!' He'd
lean back with his eyes shet, when the fit's on him, an'
the wails an' sobs an' shrieks he'd lure from the bosom
of that instrooment, would shore run a mountain lion
plumb off its natif heath. Thar's nothin' to it! At
sech eepocks I holds with Boggs that Sandy, if he pleases,
could play a fiddle with his feet.
"As the days runs into months, an* Sandy ain't took
the big jump none as yet, we-all kind o' gives up lookin*
for it; an', when it does come, it's in the nacher of as'prize.
Peets himse'f ain't thar at the time, bein' over to the Box-
D outfit, tyin* down a cow-puncher who's busted his
nigh hind laig. Not that Peets could have done nothin'
if present; Sandy quits that quick, it's as if it's a
"It's along towards the heel of the dance hall hunt
that night when Sandy's took. The gray-bloo streaks
of mornin' is comin' up over the Floridas, the last walse
has been pulled off, an' Sandy's packin' his fiddle away
in its box. He says somethin* that sounds afterward
like he feels the finish ain't a foot away.
"'Looks a heap like a coffin!' he observes to Dave
Tutt, an' p'intin' to the little old black fiddle-box. Then,
as if a idee strikes him: 'Dave,' he remarks, 'if that
last walse I jest scrapes off, turns out to be the shore
enough last, tell the boys that Dan's to have Ole Bull
yere.' Ole Bull's his fiddle. 'Dan,' he goes on, 'has
been a heap good to me; an', while he ain't got no more
moosic in him than a coyote, it'll do to remember me by.'
"That's what Sandy says; an' the next moment he
comes slidin' from his perch as dead as Santa Ana.
" ' An' you can bet the limit/ declar's Texas Thompson,
as Tutt relates the eepisode, 'Sandy has preem'nitions.
Shore, folks gets some mighty mystic hunches that a- way.
SANDY CARR, VIOLINIST
As the poet sharp observes, " Comin' eevents casts their
shadows before." I has 'em myse'f. That time my
Laredo wife swats me over the forehead with a dipper,
I'm seized of a dozen preem'nitions all at once. Aside
from what stars is yoosual on sech occasions, I sees her
gettin' that divorce, an' sellin' up them steers at public
vandoo for al'mony, an' the whole racket same as though
it's in a vision. That's whatever! Gents, take it from
me that, as Sandy stands thar tellin' Dave how Dan's
to have his fiddle, he saveys Death's got the runnin' iron
on him right then, brandin' him for the ranges eternal.'
"Boggs sheds tears when he's told, bein' as I explains
freequent a mighty eemotional sport. Then he allows,
to show his respect, that he'll set up with departed ontil
he's ready to send over to Tucson. That last's the way
Sandy himse'f framed it up. We finds a note to Enright
sayin' that, while he ain't got nothin' ag'in Boot Hill
as a place of sepulcher, if we-all don't mind he'd sooner
be sent back to his folks.
"It's arranged that Sandy's to go p'intin' out for the
East the next day, the same bein' as soon as we-all can
get a box. Meanwhile, Boggs gives it out he aims as
mourner in chief, to mount gyard over the remainder.
Knowin' how plumb ha'r-hung Boggs' sens'bilities is,
I can't say I regyards his resolootion about settin' up
with Sandy as sagacious.
"Pendin' the box, we files Sandy away in his bed over
to the O. K. House, where he belongs. Sandy's room,
which is long an' narrow like a rope-walk, is in the second
storey of the lean-to; an', since the bed is 'way yonder at
the far end, we-all hopes that Boggs, by settin' near the
winder where he can look across to the Red Light an*
see the boys, scuffles through the night in shape. Some
of us would have offered to double-up in them vigils;
but Boggs is so plumb sensitive it's calk'lated to hurt his
feelin's, an* we passes the idee up. At the worst we can
stampede over to sustain him, in case his nerves takes to
ghost-dancin' an* he breaks down onder the strain.
"It's about first drink time in the evenin', an* we're
all that is all but Boggs, who is over with Sandy
loafin' sorrowfully about the Red Light, regalin* our
selves with seegyars, an' h'istin' in the yoosual drinks,
by way of keepin* up our sperits. Rucker's with us;
for Missis Rucker lets on at supper time that she an'
Faro Nell is goin' to pass a hour or two with Tucson
Jennie, an* Rucker the old horned toad! takes ad
vantage, an* escapes across to us. This yere double
deesertion don't leave nobody in the O. K. House except
Boggs an' Sandy; that is nobody save a passel of Mexican
meenyals, who's rustlin' about washin' supper plates in
"Time goes on, an' it looks like Boggs is goin' to get
along all safe. He's some wrought up though, an' at
intervals none too far apart comes caperin' over for his
forty drops of Old Jordan.
"'Bern' deepressed about Sandy, that a-way,' he
reemarks, 'I'm libatin' freer than common. But gents,
it's all in the day's work!' Yere he sighs prodigious.
"None of us lets fly any comments, an' when he's
got his licker he goes pirootin* back to Sandy.
SANDY CARR, VIOLINIST
"Thar's nothin' gala goin' among us, as we sets 'round,
an* it brings relief when a mealy tenderfoot wanders up
an* heads for Rucker.
"'Be you the gent/ says the mealy tenderfoot to
Rucker, speakiri' a heap diffident 'be you the gent who
keeps the feed shop over the way?'
'"Which my wife' says Rucker; an' then he ketches
"Rucker ain't got no more spunk than jack-rabbits;
but he notices how the mealy tenderfoot looks timid an'
'pologetic, an' allows he'll rough him some by way of
givin' his manhood a picnic, him not darin', while Missis
Rucker is rummagin' about, to say his soul's his own.
"'Be I what?' deemands Rucker, shiftin' his manner
from feeble to fierce.
'"Be you the gent who deals the feed-game across the
street?' says the mealy tenderfoot, still more diffident.
"'Well, whatever if I be?' growls Rucker.
"Which, he shorely is the surliest boniface! It's
him bein' roped up from among them Apaches, where
he's livin' at peace that time, which sours him. An'
yet that ain't no excoose; an' it's even money, if we-all
ain't bowed down about Sandy, Cherokee or Jack Moore
or some other philanthropist would have whacked him
over the head with a gun.
"'Nothin' if you be,' repeats the mealy tenderfoot;
'only I wants somethin' to eat.'
"Oh, you wants somethin' to eat,' retorts Rucker,
puttin' on dog egreegious. 'Who be you?'
"'Me?' says the mealy tenderfoot. 'I'm travellin'
salesman for the One-Spoon Bakin' Powder Company of
St. Looey. I've been workin* the Red Dog stores all
day; an* now I'm some peckish, an* desires food/
"'Well/ snarls Rucker, 'you-all don't reckon I'm
goin' to prodooce a table an* feed you right yere in the
Red Light, do you ? Your best hold is to go romancin'
over to the O. K. House, camp down in the dinin* room,
an' raise th' long yell. Most likely, if you yells loud
enough an* long enough, somebody'll come ransackin'
along an' stake you to some grub, merely to get shet of
"With this, Rucker settles back as lofty as though he
an' not Missis Rucker is boss.
"'Rucker,' breaks out Jack Moore, when the mealy
one-spoon person has started off, 'you certainly are the
most reepellant landlord I ever gets ag'inst! It's half-
in half-out of my mind while you're runnin' your on-
called for blazer, to pass that one-spoon party my gun,
an' urge him to t'ar into you/
"'But you-all don't onderstand, Jack/ expostchoo-
lates Rucker, beginnin' to lay down. 'Which you never
runs no restauraw. Some of these yere fly-by-night
boarders seems to think I've got to pack 'em in cotton
battin' an' sing 'em to sleep/
"The matter drops, an' for a while we sets 'round
placid an' wordless. Then, mebby because his thoughts
is runnin' on Sandy, Texas Thompson reelates how he
once sees a goblin cow.
"'It's back on the Canadian/ says Texas. 'I'm
settin' by my camp fire, when thar of a sudden stands a
SANDY CARR, VIOLINIST
cow. I can't see the brand, because her face is my way,
but the y'ear-marks is a swallow-fork in each y'ear.
Thar bein' no sech y'ear-marks on that range, I gets the
notion it's a spook-cow, an* whanges away with my
six-shooter accordin'. When the smoke cl'ars aside,
thar I be alone as former; no cow, no nothin'. From
which I'm driven to conclood it's a spook-cow.'
"At this junctchoor, Boggs comes trapsin' across for
more licker, an* by way of washin' the taste of Texas's
goblin cow out of our mouths we j'ins him. Boggs,
bein' refreshed, goes teeterin' back ag'in to Sandy, an*
we-all settles down once more.
"Cherokee gets garroolous next, an* is beginnin' to
wonder wherever Hamilton'll round up another fiddler,
when the timid one-spoon person returns, an' fronts up
to Rucker the second time.
" ' Now that my hunger's appeased,' says the one-spoon
person, 'I wants to go to bed. I've been skallyhootin'
hither an' yon all day with them Red Dog tarrapins,
an' I'm about dead on my laigs.'
"An',' breaks in Rucker, beginnin' to bristle which
knowin' he's safe, the temptation to buffalo that one-
spoon stranger is too strong 'of course it's up to me
to sashay over an' tuck you in a whole lot. Listen!
If you're honin' for sleep, you clinch onto one of them
candles standin' on the side table; an' if a blanket-bed
with a goose-ha'r pillow is anywhere near your speed,
you'll find them luxuries waitin' at the head of the
"Well/ retorts the one-spoon person, who's food
had braced him up a lot, 'all I got to say is you're a
mighty ornery host/
"'Never mind/ says Rucker, 'about me bein' ornery.
Your only show for a bed is to obey my mandates/
"As the one-spoon person departs, Boggs comes rack-
in* along back for further licker.
"'I don't want to vie with you none, Monte/ says
Boggs, addressin' Old Monte, who's jest up from the
stage office, an' who, as I long ago tells you is Wolfville's
offishul sot, 'but I shorely don't recall when I'm quite
this parched. It's woe does it/
"Boggs dallies 'round about his drink, bein' lonesome
I reckon, an' consoomes all the time he can. As he stands
by the bar, sniffin' his rum delicate, he turns to Enright.
'"You-all used to know Sandy's pap, Sam?' he
observes. 'What for an old maverick was he?'
'"The old man's dead now/ replies Enright, who
onderstands how Boggs is shakin' the bresh for preetexts,
an' is willin' to he'p him out. 'Speakin' of the tomb,
he beat Sandy to it by three years. I recalls the first
time I sees this yere old Carr; it's one of them summers I
goes visitin' my fam'ly in Tennessee. The day is plenty
fervent, bein' August; the sun blazin' down direct, fairly
b'ilin' the black mud of the Cumberland bottoms. I've
cinched a saddle onto a hoss, an' am workin' off towards
the Upper Hawgthief to see some cousins. As I goes
perusin' on my windin* way, I crosses up with a measly
little one-room shack, in the black midst of them bubblin'
sweatin' bottoms. Thar's a shrivelled rag of a party
camped out in front. He's settin' on a elm stump, that's
SANDY CARR, VIOLINIST
plumb oncovered to the blisterin' sun; an' what's more,
he's got a blanket overcoat wropped about him, collar
turned up, same as if he's in Nova Zembla.
"'As I pulls to a halt, he brings his peaked weasel
face around, an' glances out from onder his old wool
"'"Why don't you reemove a heap into the shade of
yonder tree?" I asks, breakin' ground for better ac
"'"Cause the chill's on," says Weasel-face. "Bime-
by, when the fever's on, I'll shore hunt some shade."
"'"How long have you reesided yere?" I asks.
'"" Thirty year," says Weasel-face.
"'"How long have you had the agger?"
'""Whyever don't you pull your freight?"
'""Which you-all can't none, an' no money."
'""What's the matter of earnin' money?" I says.
"It looks like in thirty years you might have caught on
to some sort o' bank-roll."
'""You think so, stranger!" retorts Weasel-face,
sneerin* up at me from onder the wool hat. " Now look
yere: Since I've had the agger an* that's thirty year
I ain't been fit for nothin' but to shake down persimmons
an' sift meal, an' you can't accumyoolate no riches at sech
"That Weasel-faced, agger-eaten party, gents,' con-
cloods Enright, signin' up to Black Jack for the glasses,
'is none other than old Carr, Sandy's pap; an', as I men
tions prior, I always allows Sandy bein' ricketty an'
weakly that a-way, is doo primar'ly to the fever-soaked
stock he comes from/
"Boggs takes advantage of Enright's signals to Black
Jack, an* hangs on desperate. Then Old Monte, sort
o' onbucklin' with his rum, begins to remember things,
an' that gives Boggs a fresh excoose. The old drunkard's
told the aneckdote more'n forty times, but Boggs clings
to every word, same as if it's a roast apple, an' heaves
in questions, an* tantalizes 'round pretendin' he's breath
less with interest, an* the tale plumb new entire. The
yarn's about how Old Monte gets stuck up once in the
North Georgia Mountains, by moonshiners, an' is drug
off his buckboard, an' herded along down a mountain
side to shave a dead man.
"'They-all not havin' no razor,' explains Old Monte;
'an', in foolish forgetfulness born of grief, promisin'
deefunct to shave him before they mows him away in
the grave. Talk of patriarchs; that old chief of the moon
shiners has a beard big enough to stuff a pillow! Which
them mourners that corrals me, an' my razor, is that
grateful when I'm through, they endows me with a gallon
of moonshine whiskey pale as water. I'd have give 'em
the razor; only I'm afraid they'll feel crit'cized. So,
after I'm out o' sight, I flings it away in a canyon. Gents,
them Georgia mountaineers is barbarians!' an* with
this yere dictum, Old Monte buries his nose in his licker
BOGGS AND THE GHOST
NOTHIN' new in the way of topics bein' started,
Boggs goes slowly an* reluctantly over to
Sandy ag'in. When he's gone, we-all subsides
"The silence final grows irksome, an' Cherokee gets
to expandin' concernin' sperit-rappin's, table-tippin', and
sim'lar cantrips, all onexplan'ble.
"'At that/ says Cherokee, an' his manner is sech as
to throw doubt on his words, *I don't attriboote them
pheenomenons to occult inflooences none. But what
I do know is that when old Two-p'ar Blakely he's
called Two-p'ar that a-way from a habit he has of raisin'
before the draw when possessed of two-p'ars loses his
last chip ag'inst Crawford's bank in Vegas, an' falls
dead across the lay-out, somethin' not in the game gives
the table sech a thump the deal-box jumps a foot, an*
every stack in the check-rack goes crashin' to the floor.'
"These yere reminescences leaves us so spraddled out
in sperit, that when Black Jack behind the bar drops a
glass, every gent springs to his feet, an' Rucker falls
plumb off the candle box he's usin' as a seat.
"Whatever's the good, Cherokee,' exclaims Texas
Thompson, who's been harrowed excessive by them
particulars touchin' Two-p'ar Blakely "whatever's the
good of bringin' up sech fool mem'ries? It's enough to
"'Which if it's any more curdlin',' returns Cherokee,
plenty testy, 'than that mirac'lous cow you encounters
on the Canadian, I asks you to p'int out in what respecks.'
"Before Texas can reply, a turrible eevent takes place.
We're grouped about on the platform in front of the Red
Light at the time, an' it's sech a combination of the fright
ful an' the abrupt it simply congeals us where we be.
Talk of pans of milk from top shelves! Sech catastro-
phies is slow an' gyarded in their approach, an' can be
seen comin' for months, compar'd to what ensoos.
"At that, if we has Doc Peets among us, I always
figgers we'd have come through onscathed. Peets, as
I mentions once or twice perhaps, is the best eddicated
gent between the Colorado an* the Rio Grande; an',
when mysteries commence to thicken an* you-all go
gropin' 'round for eloocidations, thar's nothin' like havin'
a eddicated scientist at your elbow to appeal to with your
troubles. But Peets is miles distant at the Box-D, an*
we're left in our he'pless darkened way to face our doom
"Jest as Cherokee grows peevish with Texas, like I re
lates, we hears a horrifyin' crash .from t'other side of the
street, an' next thar's Boggs hurlin' himse'f, without the
slightest reference to how he's goin' to 'light, from the
window of Sandy's lean-to. It checks our breath, an'
throws our hearts back on their haunches! The shock
is multiplied when, with not a moment to s'par' between
BOGGS AND THE GHOST
'em, a white, ghastly flutterin' ghost-thing throws itse'f
from the same window, an* swoops shriekin' down on
top of Boggs. Not that it captures Boggs; before it
more'n gets to touch him, he's up an* off like a scared
wolf. Also, the howls he eemits as he flies, would have
drove wolves to sooicide.
" When Boggs takes to flight, the white ghostly thing is
not to be shook from its purpose. With a screech, the
frightful equal of Boggs's best, it lines out on his trail,
not the length of a lariat behind.
"Thar's nothin' we-all can do but stand thar frozen,
our veins ice, hopin' all we know for Boggs. Troo, Jack
Moore, who as kettle tender for the stranglers feels like
affairs is up to him offishul, does pull his gun. But
whatever good is guns at sech eepocks ?
"The night is bright moonlight, an* moonlight in
Arizona is better than sunlight in a fog-obscured East.
Bein' almost as bright as noon, the dimmest eye among
us has no trouble in keepin' tabs on the awful chase.
Boggs splits the air like an alarmed comet, the white
flutterin' specter-thing at his heels, an' both sendin'
forth yell for yell to make you creep. The whole hid-
jeous spectacle don't consoome a minute. Boggs, evolv-
in' a screech for every jump, heads out onto the plains,
the ghost-thing splittin' even on jumps an' screeches
hangin' to his r'ar like he owes him money.
"When they've run mebby half a mile, Boggs veers
to the left, an', comin' 'round on a broad curve, re-makes
frenzied tracks for camp. Before we-all can even think,
let alone arrange for their reception, pursooer an' pur-
sooed, the ghost-thing an* Boggs, is t'arin' down upon us
like the breath of destiny. Which we never moves!
We're rooted to the spot, our quakin' moccasins glued in
terror to the floor! On they comes; Boggs holdin' his
"Now dawns the end. Jest as Boggs is flashin' by
the Red Light, a howl of despair in his throat, he stumbles
an* falls. Tharupon the flutterin' ghost-thing trips over
him, an* rolls twenty feet beyond.
" The ghost-thing spreads itse'f out flat when it stops,
right where the light from the Red Light windows falls
all across it. With that the scales falls from our eyes.
"'I'm a Mexican/ exclaims Tutt, 'if it ain't that
reedic'lous one-spoon bakin'-powder sport!'
"Not a word is uttered as every one collects a deep
breath. Tutt calls the turn; the specter, who's been
swingin' an' rattlin' so deemoniac with pore Boggs, is
none other than that same one-spoon boarder, who's,
earlier in the evenin', been pesterin' 'round Rucker.
Rucker himse'f is the last to learn the news, seein' he's
down on his knees, repeatin' ' Now I lay me ' to beat four
of a kind, when Tutt solves the specter's identity.
"Boggs, gaspin' an' speechless, eyes rollin', fingers
clutchin', is he'ped to a cha'r, an* licker administered.
That done, we grapples onto the one-spoon person, an'
sets him on his two feet.
"It's then that Tucson Jennie, Faro Nell an' Missis
Rucker comes chargin' up on the lope; an', since the one-
spoon person is but lightly arrayed, bein' caparisoned for
slumber that a-way, we wrops him in a hoss-blanket
BOGGS AND THE GHOST
so as to save 'em all we can. Shore, thar's no standin'
'em off, not even with a Winchester, they're that inquis'-
tive! You know what ladies be; speshully in moments
of thrillin' excitement, crowded full with ontoward
"Enright, who all through comes the nearest to re-
tainin' his aplomb, begins to put questions.
" ' Which I asks your forbearance,' says the one-spoon
person, replyin' to Enright he's got Boggs skinned in the
matter of comin' 'round. 'As soon as ever I re-organizes
my frazzled .faculties, I'll shore explain the best I can.
When, at the behests of yonder viper ' yere he p'ints at
Rucker, shakin' an' shiverin' about the suburbs of the
group 'who's onfit to run a boardin' house for rattle
snakes, an' whom I intends to fully immolate so soon as
my strength returns, when, I say, at the behests of that
viper, I leaves you-all an' goes lookin' for a couch, I
follows his croode directions to the letter. I takes a
candle, climbs the stair, an' thar at the stair-head, like
he says, I sees a open door. Which it's the door to the
room from the window whereof you so lately beholds me
come soarin'; an' to which I shall refoose to return,
though as a consequence I sleeps in the street. The door
bein' open, I enters. Thar's a candle burnin' on the
table by the window, where also reposes a fiddle-box.'
'" Which Dan,' breaks in Texas Thompson, 'insists
on takin' the fiddle with him, allowin' it'll please Sandy
a heap, should he be hoverin' near.'
' ' Down at the far end of the apartment,' goes on the
one-spoon person, 'I makes out a gent in bed. I takes
him for the individyooal who belongs with the fiddle-
box. Of course, I wasn't brought up two-in-a-bed at
home; but I ain't met with no sech gracious reception,
since I've been squanderin' about in Arizona, as to en
courage me in makin' any kicks. So I keeps mighty
quiet, makin' up my mind to tolerate the fiddle
party. I lays aside my raiment, an' takes up a place on
the extreme outside edge of the couch, so's not to dis
turb the troobadour. I blows out my own candle, leavin'
t'other gutterin' away like I finds it. That's another
lesson I learns early in these yere regions, which is never
to disturb local conditions. Wharfore, I lets the orig'nal
light burn on.'
"'Which you ain't no such dullard as you looks!'
interjecks Tutt, aimin' to reasshore the one-spoon person,
who continyoos to be some tremyoolous.
"'Bern* weary of the world/ goes on the latter, 'I
falls asleep plenty prompt. When I rouses, which is
most likely within a few minutes, I'm some smitten of
wonder at a party settin' by the table, fondlin' the fiddle-
box. " Whatever is he after ? " I asks myse'f . " Shorely
he can't think of stakin* out a claim on a room as
to which two of us has already took out papers!" Roo-
minatin* thus, I r'ars up on my elbow to begin a conver
sation. The same, when begun, is broke off at the first
word, by the gent I'm addressin' divin' head-first through
the window, carryin' sash an* all.'
"Onder the circumstances, I should say as much!'
ejaculates Jack Moore, who's drinkin' in every word.
"Gents, the rest though fear-inspirin' an' painful
BOGGS AND THE GHOST
shouldn't take long. As the party by the table makes
that onlooked for header through the window, I starts to
wake up the troobadour to collect his views on what's
took place. I needn't dilate; suffice it that I go through
the window a moment later, plumb greedy for the trip.
The rest you know; an' now, if some Samaritan'll
organize a rescoo expedition to go an' fetch my clothes,
I'll be deeply thankful/
"'What you've said,' remarks Enright, 'is a heap clar'-
fyin'; but you don't furnish s'fficient reason for huntin'
an' harrassin' our inoffensive townsman up an' down
the face of nacher, an' scarin' him to death.'
"'Believe me,' says the one-spoon person, 'I keenly
realizes it's thar my deefence is weak. Thar's no reason
which I can assign for pursooin* your friend, except
that when I hits the ground my feelin's is in a toomult,
an' the sight of him, runnin' an' racin' an' yellin', fac'n-
ates me into givin' forth kindred yells of sympathy an'
followin' his lead. I suppose I nacherally ups an'
chases him a whole lot for luck. Also, permit me to
remark that the route he seelects incloodes vegetation of
both a cactus an' a mesquite order, an' it looks now in
consequence me bein' b'arfoot that a-way like my
expense account ag'inst the One-Spoon Bakin' Powder
Company'll have to carry a hoss an' wagon from now
till further notice.'
"Thar's nothin' more to relate," concluded the old
gentleman. "The most gallin' feachure is when a band
of Red Dog scorners comes troopin' up, spurs jinglin',
leathers creakin', sayin' from our screams they takes it
we're bein' skelped by Injuns, an' has come to give us
their protection. Boggs? It takes weeks, an' no end
of drugs, an' two of us standin' watch an' watch by his
blankets; but in the end we brings him back to health.
He's plumb patient, an* declar's that no one's to blame
"' Gents,' he says, * sooperstition is my weakness the
one weakness in a constitootion otherwise without a
flaw.' Then, alloodin' to a long-ago sport that Peets was
tellin' of one evenin' : ' Ghosts is my Achilles' heel, gents.
That's whatever, they're my Achilles' heel!"
NEVER but once is Old Man Enright floored,"
observed my gray raconteur reminiscently;
"that is floored through one of them masterly
manoovers, by which a gent goes round another gent's
flank an' crawls his hump strategic. An' yet I don't
aim to be onderstood none as sayin' that Enright never
is up ag'inst it. Which of course he ain't no more up
holstered to make aces-up beat three-of-a-kind than you
or me, an' when brought to bay by sech barriers of nacher
he, like other folks, is shore obleeged to lay down. What
I'm tryin' to say is that, where it's a case of savey an'
seein' your way through, Enright never gets downed but
"It's Cotton wood Wasson who performs this mir'cle.
An' what contreebutes, speshul, to the strangeness of the
play is that this Cottonwood person is nothin' more'n a
yooth a callow yooth camped on the sunrise side of
twenty. Enright, as ag'inst this yere callowness of
Cottonwood's, shows three times the years. I never
counts the rings on his horns, personal, holdin' it bad
manners to go projectin' about locatin' another gent's age,
but it's safe to say he's sixty. Now thar's a heap of
experience comin' to a gent in sixty years a heap of
cattle to travel the trail an' for him, with all he's seen an*
met an* coped with, to be took out of the saddle by a child,
is strange to the p'int of crowdin' the yoonique. Enright
says himse'f that, on the hocks of it, his conceit goes to
bed sick for a week. The deevice, too, which overcomes
him is as simple as seven-up an* something like it
after Cherokee explains. It lets Cotton wood out though;
an* fools Enright to a frazzle fools him likewise in
his offishul c'pacity as chief of the stranglers, which is
drawin' the cinch plenty tight."
The old gentleman made a profound pause, and for
got everything else apparently while he filled his pipe.
I was too well taught to put a question, or break out in
comment. He would back away from either like a pony
at sight of a bridle. Therefore, I puffed at my cigar in
silence. My wary forbearance went not without results.
Pipe lighted, grizzled head in a cloud of smoke through
which his fine if wrinkled features gleamed out upon me
as through a fog, he again took up the thread of narra
"This Cotton wood Wasson," he continued in a musing
way, "don't live in Wolfville. For that matter I ain't
none shore he reesides anywhere. My idee is that he
passes his shallow days cavortin' round permiscus, now
in Wolfville, now in Red Dog or Tucson or Colton or
Lordsburg, or mebby even Silver City. Which he is
certainly the restlessest party whoever onbosoms him-
se'f in whoops, an' it looks like his natif element is too-
mult. Not that he's hostile, or prone to lock horns with
peaceful folks an* paw for trouble, but his common gait
is to go chargin' up an* down the street, between drinks,
spurrin' his mustange to a frenzy of buckin', meanwhile
slammin' away with his six-shooter at tin tomatter cans,
an* empty beer bottles, an' sim'lar obsolete truck.
"But Cotton wood never shoots at no people. That
is, never onless you insists on countin* a Chinaman,
which Wolfville is too conservative to do. What!
Chinamen is folks ? Not in the eddicated estimation of
Arizona, son! His merely bein' willin' to work can't be
permitted to pedestal him as part of an American pop'la-
tion. If that's argyment, we'll be lettin' mules an'
Mexicans vote before we quit.
"No; Cottonwood don't bump off this opium slave
complete. He's only tryin' a snap-shot at his cue at the
time, an' perhaps his hand shakes, or the chink makes a
fool move or something, an' the bullet sort o' burns his
neck. Which you might have been jestified in thinkin*
he's beefed, however, from the yells he turns loose. They
even hears 'em in Red Dog, an' lets on later to some
teamsters from Tucson that they allows it's one of us
sech is the envy wherewith them cheap Red Dog out
casts regyards Wolfville an' its citizens.
"Boggs at the time insists that measures should be
took with Cottonwood. He even stirs up Enright, who
tries to smooth him out.
"It's only the exyooberance of boyhood,' says En-
right. 'An' you was a boy once, yourse'f, Dan.' Which
Enright is plumb forbearin' that-a-way with the young.
"'Jest the same,' argues Boggs, 'I holds it's up to you,
as chief of the vig'lance committee, to mark out a res-
ervation for this headlong Cottonwood. Have lariats an*
windmills no purpose? Is the stranglers a joke? Is
that forum of jestice conceived in a sperit of mirth?'
"'No/ says Enright, some emphatic, 'it ain't. But
what, I asks you as a member of the committee, do you
desire to do? As yet we have no calaboose, though
plans is bein' formyoolated an* that capstone to civiliza
tion is on its way. Pendin' said calaboose, however,
what would you su'gest ? I shorely trusts you ain't that
inhooman as to advise a rope for a boy in his teens. An*
for nothin' more heenous than crackin' off his 45!'
"'But he disturbs my peace,' urges Boggs petyoo-
lantly. 'I tells you he gives me indigestion. I'm gettin'
along into middle years, an' my stomach ain't what it was;
but if ever Doc Peets tells me that the way I feels is doo,
primar'ly, to them lone-hand fest'vals which this yere
Cottonwood engages in, I'll wear out my six-shooter on
his empty head. Which I'll shore buffalo that young
merry-maker into a more mod'rate frame, or my
name ain't Boggs. I don't hunger to win fame as the
Wolfville Herod, an' slaughter children; I'm no one to
imbroo my hands in the blood of babes an' sucklin's;
but thar's exceptions to every roole, hoomane or other
"Boggs goes pacin' up an' down the Red Light as he
makes these fulminations, while Enright sits benign an'
comfortably placid. We're all that used to Boggs'
peevishness, him bein' by nacher nervous to the verge of
emotional, no one pays much heed. But at that, Cotton-
wood don't escape without rebooke; for jest as Boggs
ceases, who should come plungin' along, but Armstrong
from the New York Store. Like Boggs, he says that
hobbles must be put on Cotton wood, or subsequent
deevelopments may come off in the smoke.
"'Which I must say/ remarks Enright after listenin'
to Armstrong a heap disgusted, 'that thar's a powerful
sight of tomtom playin' an' skelp dancin' about nothin'.
Yere's a boy, possessed of them effervescent sperits
yoosual with his time of life, runs his pony up the street,
bangs away with his gun, an' casyooally creases a chink.
Wharupon two fullgrown gents goes teeteerin* 'round,
talkin' of vig'lance committees, with ropes an' wind
mills for a finish. This yere attitoode of narrowness,
Armstrong, don't do you an' Dan no credit. You-all
acts as though a Chinaman is jooelry.'
"'Chinaman!' exclaims Armstrong, full of contempt.
'Do you reckon, I'd leave my business to bluff 'round
about a saddle-colored serf of the orient? Which the
warmth of your manner is explained. No; yere's the
prop'sition: This sportive yooth is interferin' with
trade. That Mongol is on his way to my store to spend
money when Cottonwood opens on him. What I says
is that sech action is inconsid'rate an' he should be taught
to think before he shoots.'
"Enright signs up the bar-keep to set out the licker.
"I was shore obtoose,' he says, softly, his manner
apol'getic, 'an' I must say I can't see how I'm so dull as
to go followin' off the wrong wagon-track that a-way.
You're plumb right, Armstrong. This Chinaman is
out to buy soap or starch or blooin' or what other chem'c-
als he employs in his suds-sloppin', when Cottonwood
heads him off with that gun-play. Shore, I'll give him
warnin'. A Chinaman is one thing; but commerce
must not an' shall not be shot up/
" Jack Moore, at Enright's behest, brings in the eboo-
lient Cottonwood, who seems a heap cast down. He's
that modest it half way disarms Boggs, who whispers to
Enright that he reckons if he counsels Cottonwood to
practyce more reserve with that six-shooter of his, it will
likely answer all demands.
"'Which I adopts your view, Sam/ observes Boggs,
surveyin' Cottonwood, who shore does look mighty
young an' small; 'it's plain he ain't lynchin' size as yet.'
"For all Boggs' intercessions, Enright assoomes a sour,
forbiddin' manner. 'Cottonwood,' he says, 'I wouldn't
if I was you bank too strong on my want of years, to go
pressin' the limit of the public patience. We've put up
with a sight from you; an' it's the opinion of gents, ex
pert in sech matters, that, if you go romancin' along as
headed, you'll onexpectedly enter upon life everlastin'.
It's bad enough to go settin' Dan an' other sens'tive
folks on edge with your hubbubs, but to-day you takes a
further downward step, an' puts at deefiance the rooles
of trade. Do you-all realize how that Chinaman, when
you singed him, is on his way to buy things at the New
"Cottonwood protests that the idee never enters his
"'It's then as I thought,' goes on Enright, sort o' re-
laxin'. 'What you does is not doo to malice; but jest the
same it's indiscrete. Now I won't tell you twice, Cotton-
wood. Wolfville will not tol'rate interference with
business interests. Yereafter, when moved to go burnin'
up the scenery about a Chinaman with your gun, be
shore it's after he makes his purchases. Now vamos,
an* avoid footure criticism/
"Cotton wood is more or less conscience stricken over
Enright's words, an' promises to mend his ways. An' to
show his feelin's has been reely touched, an* he's tryin'
to improve, he takes the saddle off his pony an* goes on
foot for mebby it's three days. He's so plumb quiet, too,
that general confidence is restored in him to sech a degree
that Cherokee Hall, who's yeretofore barred him at
farobank as too young an* voylent, considers reemovin'
those disabilities an' permittin' him to buck the game
onchecked. It's among things shore that, if Cotton-
wood had persisted in his quietoods, he'd stood pub
licly out of sight inside another week.
"Boggs even says to Texas Thompson, 'It's amazin'
how that Cottonwood boy has improved since Sam
advises with him. It certainly does knock his horns
off, an' no mistake.'
"Which I figger,' returns Texas, who's more judg
matical than Boggs, 'that the changes you rejoices over
is the froote rather of fear than of any resolootion to lead
a happier an' a better life. Old Sam Enright's got a
mighty piercin' eye, an' thar's a gray gleam in it like the
shine of a new bowie. It's calk'lated to send a thrill
of apprehension through a wrong-doer, like the grace of
heaven through a campmeetin', an' nacherally it daunts
Cottonwood a whole lot. I'm yere to say I never does
meet up with any party possessin' sech commandin'
eyes, except my former Laredo wife. As for that lady, a
glance of reproof from her was like bein* struck by
"'All the same/ returns Boggs, 'I feels more lib'ral
than you about Cottonwood. It's my belief his reform
"'Well/ breaks in Tutt who's listenin', 'while I'll be
proud to lose, I don't mind bettin* you a stack of reds,
Dan, that this Cottonwood coyote cuts loose ag'in inside
of no time/
"'Cuts loose?' repeats Boggs. 'To what extremes?'
'"I'll gamble you-all he gets that egreegious the strang-
lers comes together/ says Tutt.
"It's a go/ says Boggs; 'although I'm driven to ree-
mark, Dave, that your tastes for specyoolation has most
likely betrayed you into the hole. This Cottonwood
boy'll be as tame as tabby cats/
"It's the next day, while Cottonwood is loafin' about,
solemn an' seedate, that Old Monte swings in with the
stage. He fetches with him two tenderfeet.
"An' they ain't got a thing but money!' says Old
Monte, as he pitches the letter bags to the postmaster,
an' tumbles into the street. 'I couldn't quite get
onto their game, but the barkeep in Oriental jest
before I pulls out of Tucson, asshores me they're yere
"The strangers pitches camp at the O. K. Restauraw,
an' after Enright gets out of Old Monte all he's able to
commoonicate which is plenty scanty, for the amount
that old sot can't find out onder the most fav'rable cir
cumstances is plumb surprisin' he an* Doc Peets goes
squanderin' over. These yere demonstrations gets
pop'lar anticipation all keyed up.
"'Thar you see the two wisest sharps this side of the
Missouri!' exclaims Dave Tutt, lookin' after Enright an*
Peets. 'If they can't convince them millionaires of
Arizona's footure, then it don't lay in the deck.'
"'The same bein' my belief complete,' says Boggs,
who's celebratin' the advent of the tenderfeet out of a
bottle. 'You bet Enright an' Peets'll rope an' hawg-tie
these yere capitalists, an' have 'em all spread out for
brandin' too easy.'
"'While we're hankerin' round the Red Light, talkin'
it over, Enright comes back. I never sees him more
"'Gents.' he says, takin'the bottle from Boggs, 'them
strangers is shore auriferous. They ain't made up their
minds what avenoos of trade they'll tread, but their fixed
impression is they'll stay.'
'"How strong be they?' asks Tutt. 'How big a
bankroll do you reckon now they've got?'
'"Which of course,' says Enright, 'I don't put the
question none direct, havin' too much tact, but they talks
of a hundred thousand dollars like Dan does of a round
of drinks. I regyards their presence as eepock makin'.
Peets is with 'em; an' if they has idees he'll expand 'em,
an' if they has doubts he'll bed 'em down.'
"' Shore I' says Boggs, mighty confident; ' Peets'll have
them investors walkin' Spanish too quick. I looks on
the play as cinched.'
"'Speakin' general/ returns Enright, 'I must say I
shares Dan's confidence. Still, thar's a chance. Like
most sports from the East, oninyoored to Arizona ways,
they're timid. They asks me partic'ler whether law is
respected, an' do we set a valyoo on human life. It
wouldn't do to startle 'em on them p'ints.'
"'Valyoo hooman life!' exclaims Texas Thompson,
some indignant. 'Whatever is them mavericks talkin'
about? Ain't we got a vig'lance committee? Don't
every gent pack a gun? With sech evidences like an
open book before 'em, don't it look like we valyoos
"'An' as for respectin' the law,' adds Boggs; 'it's a
pity Curly Bill, or some other party on whom the game
law's out, couldn't wander into camp right now. A
joodicious lynchin' would be the convincin' caper! It
would shore show 'em whether we respects the law or
TOP AND BOTTOM
ENRIGHT suggests to Tutt that if Tucson Jennie
p'rades the street leadin' little Enright Peets
Tutt, it would give the camp a quiet domestic
"'The sight of sech a child as Enright Peets/ he says,
'couldn't fail to nootralize any roughness; that done I'd
look on victory as secure. Also some gent ought to prance
over, an' pass the word to Missis Rucker not to tyrranize
over pore Rucker too open in the presence of our visitors.
But on second thought it would hurt her feelin's an' lead
to onpleasant sequels; so mebby it's as well to pass it up.'
"It's yere Doc Peets comes weavin' in, smilin' wide an*
complacent. 'It's all right, Sam,' says Peets, addressin'
Enright; 'I left 'em gettin' ready for chuck. It don't do
to talk to 'em too much at the jump; they might think
the camp has designs.'
"'Right you be, Doc,' breaks in Texas. 'Capital
ists that a-way is like antelopes; the way to hunt 'em is
to sit still.'
"An* Missis Rucker?' urges Enright, sort o' anxious.
1 ' Which May mornin's is harsh to her,' returns Peets.
'She's got Rucker out in the kitchen, slicin' salt-boss an'
openin' air-tights, an' is preparin' to deal them guests
the gastronimic game of the year. Also her attitoode
towards Rucker is one of peace an' gentleness; they're
gettin' along as congenial as so much milk an' honey.'
"Enright heaves a sigh, lights a seegyar, an' leans
back like one who sees triumph on its windin' way. He
beams round on the boys, an' says:
"'Bein' no one to count my chickens prematoor, I've
reef rained from any prophetic bluffs. But after hearin'
from the Doc, I'm yere to say we've got the sityooation
treed an' out on a limb. These cap'talists is ours.'
"It's now, when hope is highest, thar comes a yell that
sounds like an Injun outbreak, an' a pony goes flashin'
up the street as though he's shot out of a gun. Every
gent looks up, Enright some disturbed.
"'Now what onmuzzled Siwash is that?' he asks, an'
his tones is plenty ferocious. 'Who is it goes promotin'
uproar at a crisis like this?'
"'It's that exasperatin' Cottonwood,' replies Boggs.
'He's loose ag'in, an' organizin' to stand the town on its
"Jack,' says Enright, wheelin' short an' fierce on
Jack Moore, 'go bend a gun over his locoed pate.
He'll throw down all our plans!'
"Before Jack can get to Cottonwood, the worst
possible occurs. The two cap'talists, on hearin' the
whoops, nacherally comes to the O. K. door to see what's
up. One of 'em, who's got on a plug hat, is speshul in
terested. As Cottonwood sails by, w'irlin' his six-shooter
on his finger, the plug hat stranger seems to go into a
trance of admiration, perceivin' which Cottonwood yanks
his pony up short, an' surveys him plenty disdainful.
TOP AND BOTTOM
"'Whoever licensed you to wear sech a warbonnet as
that?' demands Cottonwood, dictatin' at the plug hat
with his gun. ' Don't you-all know it's ag'in the rooles
of our set ? '
"'Whatever be you talkin' about!' exclaims the plug
hat party, plumb took aback.
"'Do you-all reckon,' goes on Cottonwood, disre-
gyardin' the question, 'that we're sech prairie dogs as to
let a schemin' shorthorn go onderminin' us with his de-
boshed plug hat? If so, why was Bunker Hill an'
wharfore Yorktown ? Unless I nips this plug hat move
ment in the bud, you'll be playin' a w'ite shirt on us
"Before the astonished tenderfoot can say a word,
Cottonwood whips off the plug hat an* claps it on the
muzzle of his gun. This done, he begins shakin' the
loads out of his weepon same as if it's a bunch of crackers.
He shorely does make a colander of that headgear! Jest
as he's fetched loose the last shot, Jack Moore snatches
him from the saddle like he's a sack of flour.
"Whatever's the row now?' demands Cottonwood.
' Do the ordinances of this yere puerile outfit extend to the
protection of plug hats? If they do, I quit you right
c ' You'd better keep your feelin's hobbled/ says Jack,
'ontil you see Old Man Enright. An', as for quittin'
Wolfville, the chances are that, when he gets done with
you, you'll deecide to stay yere till the final trump.'
" Which I never did see two tenderfeet so yoonanimous
for goin' back before! In no time after Cottonwood
ventilates that plug hat, they're orderin' speshul buck-
boards from the corral, an' gettin' packed to pull their
freight. They allows they've been imposed on by the
barkeep at the Oriental over in Tucson, he havin' de
scribed Wolfville as bein' as quiet as a church.
"He sends us like lambs to the slaughter!' they says;
' an', once we're back, we'll onf url to him our views con-
cernin' the lies he tells.'
"Shore! Enright talks, an' Peets talks; but what's
the use? They tries to make these yere visitors see
things in their troo light, an' that it's only Cottonwood's
way of bein' sociable. They even offers to hang Cotton-
wood, if the ceremony will promote a better onderstandin'.
It's of no avail; after that gun play any gent who says
' Wolfville' to them cap'talists is barkin' at a knot. They
simply won't have it! An' so, when the buckboard
is ready, they goes tearin' off to the north, a hand
kerchief over the plug-hat party's skelp, the plug hat
in his lap. He allows he'll take it East, to show what
Arizona really is.
"I reckon, Tutt/ says Boggs a heap moody, 'I
owes you a red stack. I'll consider the money well in
vested if it results in my seein' that miserable Cotton-
wood's moccasins ten feet in the air.'
"Enright calls the committee together in the New
York Store, though he states that the session is informal.
"It's only intended to consider,' says he, 'in what
manner we can best get this Cottonwood killed, with
least disgrace to ourselves.'
"Whatever have I done?' demands Cottonwood,
TOP AND BOTTOM
some querulous, as Jack Moore brings him before
Enright an* the rest of us by the scruff of his neck.
' Whatever have I done now ? '
"'What have you-all done?' repeats Enright, between
rage an' disgust. 'You aims a blow at our prospects.
Which you shows yourse'f a menace. An' you with
half your milk-teeth yet! It's astonishin'! Cotton wood,
if you was at years of discretion, thar wouldn't have
been no pesterin' round with committee meetings. I'd
have had Dan, or Texas, or Jack yere, s'anter to the
door with a Winchester, an' solve the trouble by shootin'
you all up. Now answer me: What made you go
swoopin' at that cap'talist ? '
"'Cap'talist!' says Cotton wood. 'However do I
savey he's a cap'talist ? " Yere's a short horn," thinks I,
"an' the camp plumb dead! I'll about jump in, liven
things up a whole lot, an' give him a good impression."
That's why I throws myse'f loose like I do.'
"An' do you allow,' returns Enright, savage an'
sarkastic, ' that to burn up the causeway with your pony,
make a pinwheel of your six-shooter, an' finish off by
shootin' a gent's only hat full of holes, is doo to make a
good impression ? Is that your idee of invitin' the con
fidence of a stranger?'
"After waitin' a while, an' Cotton wood makin' no
reply, Enright goes on.
' ' I can't get over the notion that you're more eediotic
than crim'nal. An' yet that don't let us in or out, but
leaves us sort o' straddle of a log. Which I confesses,
not without shame, that I'm nonplussed. Yere you go
stampedin' them capitalists said conduct bein' a bet
which no se'f-respectin' commoonity can overlook! An'
yet thar's no jail to put you in! Besides, in that school
of joorisproodence wharin I was reared, it's allers been
held that when you've got a paTty you ought to lock up,
you've got one you ought to kill. Cottonwood, I can't
see nothin' for it but hang. Troo, you ain't bumped off
no one; but, as reads the Constitootion, we're jestified
in sending you over the divide onder the gen'ral welfare
clause of that instrooment. That's my view; what do
you say, Doc?'
"'Which I'm lost in the same neck of woods with
yourse'f / says Peets. ' I asks myse'f what else is thar to
"Enright beats on the table, an' looks about. 'Has
any gent a su'gestion ? ' he asks. Thar bein' no response,
he turns again to Cottonwood, who stands round-eyed
an' amazed like a young ground owl. 'Have you any
thing to offer before an outraged public uses you whar-
with to dec'rate the wind-mill ? As I states, we regrets
this finish, but you forced our hands yourse'f. As for
me, personal, I've stood between you an' pop'lar clamor
all I will. If you've anything to say, speak out; an'
while he's talkin', Jack, you might as well go for a lariat.'
"The locoed Cottonwood begins to take an interest.
' See yere,' he says, an' his manner is a heap plausible an'
wheedlin'. 'You-all gents don't want to hang me.
An', between us, thar's reasons private to me personal
why I don't want to be hanged none. At least you-all
ought to give a gent a show-down. I'll tell you what:
TOP AND BOTTOM
I'll nacherally cut the kyards to see whether I hang or go
free ? Or, if you objects to kyards, I'll throw the dice
first flash out of the box?'
"Enright, doorin' these proffers, is regyardin' Cotton-
wood doobious an' oncertain, like he can't make up his
"' Or say/ goes on Cotton wood; 'I'll take a chance on
this? You throw three dice; an' I'll agree to tell you,
before you roll 'em, what number you'll throw, addin'
spots on top to spots on the bottom. If I fail I hang.'
"Enright at this looks at Cottonwood commiseratin'ly;
then he speaks low to Peets. 'This boy is out of his
head, Doc,' he says. 'The fright has onsettled his in
"I'm not so shore,' says Peets. 'Which I'm afraid,
I don't share your belief in him bein' upset mental.
I figger he's got an ace buried. Still, since I'm mighty
averse to stringin' up a yearlin', partic'lar when no life
has been took, I shorely trusts he has. My su'gestion
is to call his bluff.'
"'Do I onderstand,' says Enright, ag'in addressin' the
guileful Cottonwood, 'that I'm to throw three dice; an*
that you agrees to say before the throw, jest what the
spots on top plus the spots next the table will count up ? '
"Preezackly/ returns Cottonwood, beginnin' to cheer
up. 'If I fall down, it's a case of bring on the rope an*
lead the march to the windmill. Failin' of a shore thing
like this, I shore ought to have no further care to live.'
"'Pore boy!' sighs Enright. Then, turnin' to Boggs:
'Dan, go over to the Red Light, an' fetch the dice.'
"Enright shakes the three dice, while Jack Moore,
who's got back from the corral, takes his stand at Cotton-
wood's elbow, the lariat over his arm. Enright raises
his hand, makin' ready to throw. At that, Cottonwood
shets his foxy eyes, pretendin' to think.
"'Which, top plus bottom/ he says, 'you'll throw
"Enright sends the dice rattlin' along the table, while
we-all crowds about. The dice show 'six-two-four'
twelve in all. We turns 'em over one by one, an' the
bottoms shows 'one-five-three', bein' nine.
"'Thar you be!' cries Cottonwood, some exultant;
'twelve on top an' nine on the bottom, the same bein'
twenty-one. I win.'
"'You win,' says Enright, an' he says it like a load is
off his mind. Then he raises his hand, mighty impres
sive. 'One word Cottonwood, an' Wolfville is through
with you, onless by some renooed breaks you reopens the
game. By first drink time to-morry, you line out for
Tucson. An' don't you come projectin' round this
outfit no more, onless we gives you speshul leave. Which
I'd run you out this evenin', only I'm afraid you'd track
up on them fleein' short-horns, an' reecommence your
"Cottonwood moves for the door without a word, for
he's no sech fool as to go tamperin' with his luck by givin'
vent to ontimely or ill-considered oratory. He's got the
sense to let well enough alone, an' don't aim to go talkin'
himse'f into new or deeper holes. When he's gone,
Enright looks at Peets a heap puzzled, an' asks:
TOP AND BOTTOM
"'However do you reckon he does it, Doc?'
"Peets waves his hand like the play baffles him entire,
an* appeals to Cherokee Hall, who's been watchin' them
final proceedings with a half grin in the corners of his
mouth, like he's amused.
"'What is it, Cherokee, that boy does to us?' asks
Peets. 'He's had us ag'inst some deadfall or other, but
what is it?'
"'Why,' returns Cherokee, pickin' up the dice, 'it's
as obvious as old John Chisholm's Fence-Rail brand.
That Cottonwood simply hands you the old snap of
Top-an'-Bottom in a new guise. An' I must concede
that you falls for it like a bevy of farmers.'
" ' Explain,' says Enright, who's sheepish to be took in
by a child. ' You says "Top-an'-Bottom ; " but you don't
eloocidate. Yere I am with three dice in my hand, an'
Cottonwood says "twenty-one." I throws; an' it is
twenty-one. Now however does he know ? '
"How does he know?' repeats Cherokee, in smilin'
tol'ration of Enright's ignorance. 'He knows, because
it can't come anything else. If you was to throw these
yere dice a thousand times, it would every trip come
twenty-one. See yere!' an' Cherokee takes one of the
dice between thumb an' finger. 'When dice is made,
they puts the six opposite the ace, the doose opposite the
five, the four opposite the trey. No matter how they
roll or what comes up, the top an' bottom of each counts
seven. Savey ? Which bein' troo, throwin' three dice
that a-way, the tops an' bottoms make three sevens
"In Enright's face chagrin an* knowledge is makin' an
even struggle of it. After a bit he says, 'You've re
counted, Cherokee, certain dice pecooliarities which
hitherto evades my notice, me bein' otherwise engaged.
It all shows the wisdom of possessin' a professional kyard
sharp, as a yoonit of the body politic. Still/ he goes on,
some reproachful, 'when you sees him settin' this trap,
why don't you give us warnin' ? '
"'Which I would/ returns Cherokee, 'if the stakes is
of real valyoo. But thar you be, only playin' for the
life of that Cottonwood, an' I sees no call.'
"'To think, Doc/ says Enright, kind o' pensive, as
we-all go wanderin' back to the Red Light 'to think
of me bein' let in by a babe in arms! An' yet I foretells
a brilliant c'reer for Cottonwood. That boy ought to
be in Congress right now! Bar-keep' makin' a sign to
Black Jack 'the reestoratives is on me.'"
TEXAS RECEIVES A LETTER
THIS yere" observed the old gentleman one even
ing when the talk had wandered to the rival
town of Red Dog "this yere I has in mind,
is an occasion when Red Dog, as a yoonit, scornin' the
narrow sperit of commoonal rivalry, triumphin' over
prejewdices still more narrow, flocks at the call of hoo-
manity to the Wolfville rescoo. Which it's one of them
grand eepisodes that redeems a gent's dwindlin' faith in
his kind, an' teaches him, with that wise old longhorn
who writ the dramys, how a tech of nacher makes the
whole world kin. To be shore, as the final kyards
comes slippin' from the box, we never does need Red
Dog's aid at all ; none whatever ! But that mustn't serve
to shift the play. Red Dog takes her p'sition, what Doc
Peets calls honey fides, an' you-all can gamble your guns,
an' throw in belt an' cartridges for lanniyap, Wolfville
yields that hamlet grateful credit.
"The beginnin' is one evenin', when a passel of us is
hibernatin' about the Red Light, playin' a little bank
ag'in Cherokee, more as a excoose for livin* than from
any lust of gain. While we're thus dawdlin' along, Peets
drifts up from the post-office, with a letter for Texas
"'Looks like some lady's openin' a correspondence
with you, Texas/ he says, tossin' the missive on the lay
"Thar it is, plain as paint, in fine h'ar-line writing
'John Thompson, Esq., Wolfville, Arizona.' Right
yere let me cut in with the p'inter that, while Texas is
'Texas' to us, his legitimate brand is 'John.'
"When the letter hits the cloth, Texas draws back
same as if it's a rattlesnake. Thar befalls a silence,
doorin' which Cherokee turns his box up, showin' play
for the nonce has ceased.
"At last, Texas gets his voice: 'It's shore she-
writin'!' says he, kind o' gulpin'. 'Gents, I saveys
by the feelin' that I'm up ag'inst the awful! It's as
though that envelope harbors a trant'ler! You open
her, Doc/ he concloodes, appealin' to Peets.
"While we-all sets back in suspense, Peets t'ars the
letter open, an' reads as follows as near as I recalls:
'Dallas, Joone 6.
' Deer husband :
' How can you be so crooel ? Thar's
no use of you longer hidin' out; I gets your present
wharabouts straight, from a sure source who sees you
face to face. Oh, that it should be granted a miscreent
sech as you to break a heart like mine! Onless I hears
from you in a fortnight after you receives this com-
moonication, I'll shore come where you be in person.
' From your illyoosed but devoted wife
' J. Thompson.'
"While Peets is readin', Texas sets thar never battin'
a eye nor waggin' a y'ear. He don't speak for more'n
TEXAS RECEIVES A LETTER
a minute; it's as if he's thunder-struck. At last he
begins whisperin' to himself.
"'Illyoosed wife! J. Thompson!' he says. 'An* my
old time wife's name is Jane!'
"Cherokee picks up the letter. Then, tryin' to hand
Texas some encouragement, he remarks:
"'This yere's spoorious! It's from Dallas; Texas's
former wife has her home-camp in Laredo/
"'Not necessar'ly,' returns Texas, his voice thick an'
husky, an' him makin' a motion with his hand same as
if he's wavin' aside false hopes; 'not necessar'ly, Cherokee.
It'ud be about her style to go troopin' off to Dallas, that
a- way, as more fashionable.'
"'Which I don't see no room for argyooment,' breaks
in Enright. 'Thar's the hand-writ, Texas. Cast your
optics onto it, an' see if it's genyooine. You shorely
knows the lady's signachoor.
" ' Which I wouldn't bet a chip on me knowin' nothin'! '
exclaims Texas, his feachoors workin' desp'rate. 'Me
an' she never carries on no voloom'nous correspondence;
an' I couldn't tell her handwritin' from quail tracks.
But thar's a sensation yere, gents' an' Texas thumps
his breast 'like a icicle through my heart, which tells
me said missive's on the level.'
"But I don't savey!' returns Enright, waxin' argyoo-
mentative. 'You regales us freequent with alloosions
to a divorce. This yere correspondent incrim'nates
you as her lawful husband?'
"Jest the same,' protests Texas, 'she gets that divorce
all right, an' is reestored to her maiden name an' all my
cattle. She auctions off the bovines, an' wins out sev-
'ral bags of doubloons onder the pretext of alimony.
I ain't on to this present racket more'n you be, Sam;
but it's obv'ous she's got some new trick up her sleeve.'
"'Mebby', says Boggs, 'this yere lady's gone broke
ag'in feathers an' furbelows, an' she's out to bushwhack
round an' extort more riches from Texas.'
"'I trusts it ain't no worse,' groans Texas. 'Still,
it'ud be more her size, on findin' me free an' havin' a
good time, to rope me up an' drag me back into them
marital bonds.' Then, castin' a implorin' glance at
Enright, 'You'll stand by me, Sam you an' the boys?
You won't let me be took without a effort?'
"'If it was ag'in men, yes,' returns Enright, whose
sympathies is all worked up; 'an' though they comes a
armed host! But however, Texas, be we goin' to shield
you from a lady? Which the mere thought leaves me
weak as water!'
"'That settles it!' says Texas, whose cheek while
Enright talks turns pale as paper; 'thar's no hope,
then! Gents, I forgives both my friends an' my enemies,
an' accepts all blame to myse'f. Moreover, I has my
refooge. Sooicide is still within my reach, an' no sport
who owns a Colt's-45 can be regyarded as without a
friend. In matrimony, as in fightin' Injuns, the word
should ever be: "Save your last shot for yourse'f."
"'Texas, Peets breaks forth, plumb enraged, 'you
talks like a prattlin' child! Let's meet this involvement
clean-strain! Why not face that sooperfluous spouse,
an' remind her you're a free, divorced, American citizen ? '
TEXAS RECEIVES A LETTER
'"Doc/ replies Texas, impatient an* queryoolous,
'sech bluffs is puerile. You ain't got no conception of
this lady. If she decides to reclaim me, that Laredo
divorce won't hold her more'n a cobweb would a cow.
You knows Abilene's wife?' Peets begins to twitch
some about the mouth, an* look faded an' oneasy
'Abilene's wife is cup-custard an' charlotte roose to this
yere one-time he'pmeet of mine!'
"Enright sighs. 'Doc,' he says, shakin' his gray
sagacious head, 'this 'llustrates what I tells you t'other
evenin'. We're too much civilized. The male of our
species lapses into a handless slave, oncap'ble of his own
domestic defence, when he eelim'nates the club from his
household economy. Since then he's been plumb power
less to preeserve the fam'ly peace.'
"'None the less,' retorts Peets, 'it befits us, as sports
of sperit, to consider means for Texas's succor. I
for one shall not surrender him without a struggle. This
yere's no child's play an' I fears we're up ag'inst the
prop'sition of our c'rreers; for all that we mustn't
"By this, havin' recovered some from the first nerve-
stampede indooced by Texas' peril, we-all falls to a dis
cussion of what's best to be done. At the outset, Texas
raises his shakin' hand to be heard.
"'Gents,' says he, 'let me onbosom myse'f on one
more p'int. You may deem me reecreant; but, onder
no circumstances, will I meet this lady in j'int debate, or
submit to be drug into her presence personal. With this
single hold-out, you-alls is free to go ransackin* about in
my destinies with the bridle off, workin' your friendly an*
"Thar's a heap of talk. One after the other, Enright
an* Peets an' Boggs an' Cherokee an' Tutt an' Jack
Moore and the rest gets down their verbal stacks. At
the finish, Peets sums up results.
"'It seems the consensus,' says he, 'that mendacity's
to be our buckler, concealment our single hope, an'
Texas yere has got to go into hidin'. Which concloosion
bein' arrived at, the next an' nacheral query is, Wherever
is he to hide at? Wolfville won't do, bein' much too
obv'ous. Moreover, accordin' to Texas she's equal to
puttin' a torch to the camp, an' burnin' it to the ground.
I tharfore submits Tucson, as a place of temp'rary
retirement for our hunted comrade.'
"'Which Tucson won't do neither,' observes Enright.
'If Texas goes to lurkin' about that closely gyarded
meetropolis surreptitious, an' nothin' to explain them
f urtivities, they'd jest about rope him up for a hoss-thief,
or mebby allow he's organizin' to turn off the National
Bank. Gents, the thought is barbed, but for myse'f
I sees nothin' for it except Red Dog. They're our en
emies; but likewise in their loocid intervals, they're hoo-
man bein's. If the naked horrors of this yere sityooa-
tion is laid b'ar to 'em, they're bound an' retain the
name of white men to offer Texas a asylum.'
'"But, Sam,' says Peets, 'Texas, as you seems to ree-
'lize, can't go burro win' in among them Red Dog folks
without no prior word. Now whoever's goin' to chip
in that word?'
TEXAS RECEIVES A LETTER
"That's a dooty up to you' an' me, Doc/ returns
Enright. 'We must bring over the Red Dog chief for
a powwow heart to heart/
"While Wolfville an* Red Dog is commonly hostile,
an* on the perren'yal outs, thar's occasions sech as In
juns or us runnin' low as to licker an* the freighters not
in on time, when we-all lends each other fraternal coun
tenance. Tharfore the Red Dog chief makes no haughty
demurs to a conference, but obligin'ly canters over in-
stanter, with Boggs an* Cherokee, who's sent to fetch him,
as a escort of honor; an' all mighty partic'lar an' p'lite.
"As the Red Dog chief swings out o' the saddle at the
Red Light, he's certainly a fash'onable lookin' spectacle.
His saddle stamped leather is gold trimmed, his spurs
wrought steel, his guns pearl mounted, while about his
sombrero is looped a pound of bullion in the shape of a
rooby-eyed rattlesnake with diamond rattles. Also,
on his bridle-rein hangs five Apache skelps; an', consid-
erin' that sech mementoes is worth twenty-five dollars
per top-knot at the Tucson bank, an' goes as so much cash
in transactions involvin' licker or farobank or roolette
in any joint in town, we-all nacherally regyards 'em as
comprisin' a mighty lib'ral adornment. Altogether,
as that Red Dog magnate comes jinglin' up to the Red
Light bar, an' Black Jack searches him out a bottle of
the best, he's a pageant to do any outfit proud.
"Followin' a mootial round of drinks, Enright an'
Peets, with the balance of us mootely backin' the play,
imparts what clouds is lowerin' over Texas.
"An' our idee,' concloods Enright, p'intin' to where
pore Texas is camped off by himse'f, silent an' hopeless
that a- way, 'is that most likely you-all gents of Red
Dog'll offer him a haven. The lady, who is doo in a week
or so, will not, I takes it, stay forever. Pendin' her pullin'
her freight, an* while she's rummagin' 'round, would you-
all, as a favor to yoonited Wolfville, afford the foogitive a
sanctchooary ? '
" Which the ready promptitood, wharwith the Red Dog
chief acquiesces, is a heap to his credit.
"'Shore/ he says; 'Mister Thompson is not only free
of my own personal wickeyup, but I shall tend him as a
honored guest. He can go thar onder cover, an' none
to molest him or make him afraid. No one'll so much
as even think of lookin' cockeyed in his direction. Thar
is, however, one su'gestion.'
"Yere the Red Dog chief explains how, as to the moo-
tial dooties of husband an' wife, public sent'ment in his
camp is some divided.
"'There is other questions,' he goes on, 'concernin'
which all hands hangs together like a brace of six-shooters
on a single belt. Considerin* the pecooliar bent of the
gen'ral Red Dog mind, tharfore, an' to avoid ferment, I
recommends that, instead of handin' it out how Mister
Thompson is pursooed by a wife from whom he's escaped,
it would be a heap more feasible to let on he's a simple
foogitive from jestice. Dodgin' all problems of domes
ticity an* puttin' it on the broad grounds of him bein'
merely a malefactor that a-way, whom they're trying to
ketch, you'll shore have Red Dog with you like a land
TEXAS RECEIVES A LETTER
"'Which your observations,' returns Enright, 'seems
plenty pertinent an* founded in a heap of hoss sense.
It only remains to ask what particular felony's most apt to
awaken a reesponsive chord in the Red Dog bosom ? '
"'If you leaves it to me/ counsels the Red Dog chief,
'I'd onloose the roomer he's bumped off a Mexican.
It can be hinted how effete Eastern inflooences has done
permeeated in among the Texas public, an* taught 'em
to view beefin' Mexicans intol'rant.'
"'But won't their s'spicions begin to set up,' asks Peets,
' when they notes it's a lady ? We shore can't hope none
to pass off one of her tender sex as a officer.'
'"Which we'll p'int to her bein' a lady that a-way,'
replies the Red Dog chief, 'as a sooperb instance of
Lone Star chicane. We'll explain on the sly how she
aims, after locatin' her quarry, to sign up the folks at
Austin for aid. Followin' which, they figgers on prounc-
in' on Mister Thompson like coyotes on some sleepin'
"'The objecks of the meetin' bein' thus satisfactor'ly
disposed of, the Red Dog chief takes to reelaxin' round
with Enright, Peets an' the outfit gen'ral, consoomin'
nosepaint an' becomin' fraternal equal. Texas is brought
for'ard an' introdooced; but he's that dazed an' cowed,
when he receives them overchoors of safety tendered by
the Red Dog chief, Enright's driven to 'pologize.
ft Which you wouldn't know him/ says Enright,
alloodin* to Texas, an' whisperin' in the Red Dog chief's
y'ear, 'he's so dejected an' overcome since ever he re
ceives that fatal missive. You-all sees how on-strung
he is, an* crippled down in heart? An' yet, pard, I
don't exaggerate when I enforms you that as recent as a
week ago he could go in, b'ar handed, an' kill his weight
"The Red Dog chief accepts these explanations in a
complaisant mood, an' allows he fully onderstands.
'For/ says he, * while I never has no shore enough wife of
my own, I knows gents who has, an' likewise possesses
powers of appreciation.'
"Followin' a mod 'rate an' mighty cer'monious dee-
bauch, the Red Dog chief rides away to his tribe ag'in,
and Wolfville bends its brows to details. She'll decend on
us by means of the stage, we argues, an it's agreed that
Old Monte on the run in, is to make a smoke on the mesa
at the mouth of the canyon, whenever he's got her aboard.
That'll give the camp ample notice, an' Texas can sidle
over to Red Dog an' go into secloosion. By way of pre-
parin', the very next day a beacon of pitch-pine knots is
heaped up on said eminence, ready for the warnin' match.
"Old Monte is puffed up egreegious when he learns.
'An' you bet you can rely on me, gents!' he says, sort
o' bulgin' out his chest. 'Your Uncle Monte never fails
a friend or lays down on a play.'
"This yere bluff's all right; still we-all don't put so
much confidence in the old dipsomaniac, but what we
posts the eboolient young sport, who's jest then tryin'
to get killed by hold-ups, ridin' shot-gun for the Wells-
Fargo people, to himse'f set fire to our mesa signal, in
case old Monte's too far gone in' drink.
"When all's said, however, it ain't beacon fires, nor
TEXAS RECEIVES A LETTER
yet Old Monte soaked of licker, that gives us most onease.
Thar's Missis Rueker, an* Tucson Jennie, an' Faro Nell :
them ladies has got to be squar'd.
"'Thai's no other way, Doc/ declares Enright; 'we've
got to take 'em in on this. Which if we-all don't, with
the ardor an' genius for bein' permiscus that is sech al-
loorin' traits of the sex, they'll jest about side in with
this yere deestroyin' angel, an' tell her whar Texas is.'
'" They wouldn't be that treach'rous!' expostchoolates
"'Not ord'narily,' says Enright; 'but yere the com-
plainin' witness'll be a fellow lady. Onder sech circum
stances, you couldn't put a bet on 'em. Our best hold
is to side-line 'em with promises, an* hobble 'em with
compacts of nootrality, in advance.'
"It takes no end of talk to bring them ladies into line,
an' Missis Rueker holds out speshul. She allows she
ain't none convinced but what Texas has done wrong.
"'Thar's a preedom'nant streak of villainy,' says Missis
Rueker, 'in all men, an' it'll be plenty queer if Texas
Thompson proves a exception to the roole.'
"An' yet, my good madam,' reemonstrates Enright, 'it's
to one side of your womanly dooties, which is to conduct
the O. K. Restauraw in your present admir'ble style.
Thar's a adage, "Let every gent kill his own snakes:"
an' the same applies to ladies.'
'"In which case,' retorts Missis Rueker, mighty tart,
'whyever be you an' Peets an' the rest of these he-mal
contents interferin' to hide Texas from this deserted
lady's search?' Then, seein' how nonplussed Enright
looks, she adds: * However, as you perhaps jestly re
marks, my business is runnin' restauraws, not healin'
fam'ly breaches; so, if I can an* for this once, I'll stand
THE FALSE ALARM
THROUGHOUT the followin' two weeks, the
popular strain is frightful. Along towards the
end, when it's nearin' the hour for the stage to
show up, the entire camp takes to scannin' that mesa
over to the north for signals. One evenin' thar she
is, towerin' aloft like a pillar of fire by night an' cloud
by day. At the earliest smoke-puff, Texas is in the
saddle an' off to place himse'f in the hands of the Red
Dog chief as a sacred trust.
"'Boys,' says Enright, deeply moved, 'we ought never
to forget the obligation which Red Dog this day puts
"The stage comes rumblin' in; but none of us is hanker-
in' 'round, for we decides it's more sapient to act like
we ain't expectin' nothin*. Still, we gets a flash at the
lady with the tails of our eyes as she steps out, an' as
near as we can count her up she's mighty person 'ble.
Old Monte confirms this yere belief.
Gents, she's a goddess,' he says : that's whatever,
she's a goddess! An' sweet? Which honey-suckles is
p'isin ivy to her!'
"Not that no one feels bound by Old Monte's com
mendation, an' him steeped in rum perpetchooal to sech
degrees he's devoid of jedgment. Peets, however, makes
a excoose for loafin' over to the O. K. parlor where she's
gone, an* poco tiempo comes teeterin' back a heap more
enthoosiastic than Old Monte.
"'It shore baffles me/ exclaims Peets, 'to guess what
ever Texas is thinkin' of when he quits!'
"'Her lookin' like a hooman sunbeam, that a- way,
Doc,' urges Enright, 'is mebby her dooplicity. You
let her once get her claws on Texas, an' I'll gamble she
comes out in her true colors. Did you-all enter into
confab with her?'
'"Why yes,' returns Peets, turnin' shamed an' diffi
dent. 'She asks me do I know a Mister Thompson;
whereat I nacherally flies to fiction, an' lets on I'm a
stranger in a strange land, same as herse'f. Then I
advises her to talk to you. To be frank, Sam' yere
Peets adopts looks disgraceful to sheep 'I comes ro-
mancin* across right now, at her requests, to ask you
won't you appear an' answer queries.'
"'Doc,' says Enright, a heap reproachful, 'do you-all
call this bein' loyal? However, let it go as it lays; I
shall confer with this lady. Forchoonate it is for the
hunted Texas, that thar's one soul in camp who's not to
be blandished by no siren!'
"Enright ain't allowed to face them dangers alone,
for Peets an' Boggs goes trackin' along at his intrepid
heels. The lady is all Old Monte hints at. Not to go
holdin' out the trooth, she's that beautiful it's reedic'lous
with big deep eyes an' soft h'ar, brown an' glossy.
Thar's tears on her cheeks, too, as she turns to Enright;
an' while he braces himse'f, I sees he's shook.
THE FALSE ALARM
"'Parding me,' says the lady, 'I'm Missis Thompson
Missis Joolia Thompson.'
" Enright roves 'round to Peets with his eye. ' Excoose
me, ma'am,' he exclaims, mighty abrupt, 'I'll be with
you ag'in in a moment/
"The lady seems s'prised, like she ain't none convinced
but Enright is locoed. However she bows, same as to
say, 'Why shore!'
"Enright drags Peets who as I says is hangin' on
to his r'ar into the street.
"'Doc,' whispers Enright; 'you notes how she declar's
herse'f as Joolia an' not Jane ? '
"Not being deef as adders,' returns Peets, 'I
" Whatever is your deeductions tharfrom?' asks
Enright. 'An' remember, this yere ain't no time fav'r-
able for errors.'
f 'With which last bluff I'm in hearty accord,' says
Peets. 'Jest the same, Sam, it's plain thar's been a
misdeal; this lady ain't scoutin' for Texas nohow; she's
layin' for some other Thompson.'
"Enright, who's plumb conservative, an' no one to go
followin' off every track he cuts, sort o' hes'tates.
'Mebby,' he says, 'her declarin' herse'f as "Joolia" is a
deevice. We must proceed with caution, Doc; we
mustn't be betrayed into furnishin' the means of her
nailin' Texas on the very nest.'
''That's troo,' chimes in Peets, growin' doobious
ag'in. 'Texas is shore the only member of the tribe of
Thompson whoever makes a moccasin track yereabouts.
" Joolia" may be but a trap. Yes, the more I dwells on
it, the more I feels she's after Texas/
"'After Texas?' breaks in Missis Rucker, who with
Tucson Jennie an' Faro Nell, an f all in states of ex
citement, refooses longer to be restrained; 'to be
shore she's after Texas! Also, I wants in on this yere
"'Why, certain, ma'am,' returns Enright, who makes
a play at seemin' easy, but succeeds only in bein' feeble
a whole lot 'why certain! The Doc an' me is jest on
the verge of goin' projectin' round' to get your 'pinions,
ain't we, Doc?'
'"To be shore you be!' retorts Missis Rucker, a
heap sneerin' and spiteful. ' Which I'll about save you
two numbskulls the trip! My 'pinions is that Texas
Thompson's statements, about his wife's name bein'
"Jane," is one of that reptile's m'licious falsehoods.
Havin' deserted this innocent girl, he now takes to lyin'
and layin' it all to her. Oh, the perf'dy of man! Which
I sees " Wretch " writ on the lineements of that Texas
Thompson, the instant he pulls a cha'r up to my dinner
table! Jen' yere she pulls Tucson Jennie for'ard 'is
workin' in my kitchen at the time, an' when I comes out
for them viands he desires I says, "Jen, if ever a born
crim'nal asks for flapjacks, he's in the dinin' room right
now!" Don't I utter them precise words, Jen?'
"'Which, Missis Rucker, you asshoredly does,' replies
Tucson Jennie, coincidin' emphatic.
"Tucson Jennie then wanders off into copious endorse
ments of all Missis Rucker says an* all she's goin' to say,
THE FALSE ALARM
while Faro Nell, who's in rapchoors over the visitin*
lady's bonnet, expresses herse'f sim'lar.
"'No one, not a born angel/ cries Faro Nell, wavin'
her diminyootive paws ecstatic, ' could possess sech heav
enly tastes in hats!'
"Then Missis Rucker fetches loose ag'in plumb
passionate an* vindictive/
"'Sam Enright/ she shouts, 'don't you monsters pre-
soome to ask my he'p in your ornery plots to martyrize
this child no further! I'm goin' to tell her whar that
miser'ble Texas is.'
"That's whatever!' screams Tucson Jennie an' Faro
Nell in chorus. 'Let's all tell her!'
"Dan/ whispers Enright, as Missis Rucker and the
other two goes p'intin' in to make them disclosures,
'sharp's the word! Pitch a hull onto a pony, quick, an'
go tell Texas to make a dash for the Mexico line. It's
his last hope.'
"It certainly seems like Missis Rucker owns powers
of divination; for, as Enright gives this command, she
falls to the r'ar so as to bring all of 'em onder her eye.
"'None of your Apache tricks, Sam Enright/ she
remarks, as hard an' brittle as the blade of a bowie;
'Dan Boggs ain't goin' to give no warnin's. Now you
three tarrapins mosey on ahead, where I keeps tabs on
" ' But you'll let me ask this yere lady about the divorce ? '
expostchoolates Enright. "It's bloo chips to clamshells,
she's in wrong. Maybe Texas ain't the Thompson
she's hungerin' for at all.'
"'Not one word, Sam Enright!' returns Missis
Rucker, firm as granite. ' You an* your fellow inquis'tor,
Doc Peets thar, ain't goin' to torture this bleedin' dove
"Enright casts a disparin' glance across to the Red
Light, from which ark of safety Cherokee an* Tutt an'
Jack Moore is gazin' horror-stricken. They can't hear
none; but they're cunnin' enough from what they sees
not to want in on the hand. Enright seeks to cajole
'em over by beckonin' with his fingers; but they proves
too foxey, and stands pat.
"'It's no avail,' says Missis Rucker, 'you makin'
signs to them confed 'rates of yours. Which you sots
will find, before I'm done, that Texas Thompson ain't
goin' to lay waste no young life, an' then coldly escape
meetin' the injured victim of his wiles. From now on,
I takes personal charge of this reyoonion ! '
"'Doc,' says Enright, as the two with Boggs marches
he'plessly ahead of Missis Rucker, 'at least it's Texas
who marries this yere wife of his, not us. He should
have remembered that as you sow, so shall you-all
"Missis Rucker close-herds her captives back into the
O. K. House, while Tucson Jennie an' Faro Nell goes
an' comes on the flanks, preventin' stragglin' an' cuttin'
off escape. It's yere the onexpected gets action. As
Missis Rucker an' the others enters the door, thar's little
Enright Peets, lispin' and chirpin' away at the vis'tor
lady, as pert and sassy as a joovenile catbird. His two
short cub-b'ar laigs is spread wide, an' he's rockin' for-
THE FALSE ALARM
'ards an' back on his fat small feet, like a infant party
who's plumb pleased with his p'sition in s'ciety.
"'Oh!' he's a sayin* in his baby way which he's
six the round-up before 'oh! you-all means my
Uncle Tommy. Uncle Tommy's gone skallyhootin' over
to Red Dog, so's you won't ketch him none. My paw's
Dave Tutt; an* he tells my maw all about it. I hears
him on'y las' night, when they-all allows I'm asleep.
You bet I saveys when not to sleep, as well as any wolf
whoever yelps on a hill I does!'
" ' Oh, you sweet, good, dear, cunnin' baby child, you ! '
says the vis'tor lady, curryin' little Enright Peets' ha'r
with her fingers soft as silk.
"'Sam/ says Peets, desp'rately comin' to the front,
' our hands is tipped off by babes, an' it ain't no use to
play 'em. It's all up with Texas, an' we might as well
go to the diskyard/
"Mebby we makes terms/ urges Enright, who by
nacher is a badger to hang on, an' swing an' rattle with
a proposition to the last. 'S'ppose you-all offers her
money, Doc. Which if a handful of thousands'll squar'
this thing, tell her the camp is yere with its roll to make
"Money!* exclaims the beautiful victim, whose
y'ears corrals the word while she's wildly carressin' little
Enright Peets; 'me take money for my desolate heart!
I wants my trooant husband!' With this, she slumps off
into a gale of sobs, carryin' Missis Rucker with Faro Nell
an' Tucson Jennie along.
"Thar's nothin' else to be done, so we organizes into
a sorrowful cavalcade, to journey over to Red Dog, an*
witness the ropin* up of Texas. Enright is speshully
gloomy, an* makes onavailin' requests of Missis Rucker
to let him go weavin' on ahead.
'"I gives you my honor, ma'am/ he says, 'that all I
plans is to get Texas's guns. You shorely don't want this
yere to end in his se'f-destruction none ? '
"'You take a back seat, Sam Enright!' is all he gets
from Missis Rucker, who every moment grows more an'
more indom'table. ' Which I'm floor-managin' this baile.'
"Well, well!" the old gentleman gave a sigh of relief
and proceeded to fill his glass "it's always darkest
jest before the dawn. Also, in the words of the Congo
reviv'list, as he tries to quote the poet at the camp meetin',
' God moves in a myster'ous way His blunders to perform.'
It's while affairs is thus lookin' murkiest for Texas, that
eevents in their courses strikes the onforeseen and glances
"Two months preev'ous, a weak-faced, cat-chinned,
slack-lipped feebleist, who gives his name as Dobbs,
drifts into Wolfville; an', because he appears oncap'ble,
an' of no consequence in this life, we-all takes a hard
forbiddin' look at him, that borders on the threatenin'.
The cat-chinned party, bein' plumb timorous, shrinks
from among us, an' backs into Red Dog, apparently
ketchin' said outfit off its gyard. Thar, by the grace
of accident an' what Red Dog overlooks in his appear
ance, he becomes cashier in a beanery, called the Gar-
field Restauraw, kept by one Pete Bland, where he makes
change an' sorts nickles for his chuck.
THE FALSE ALARM
" Thar's nothing of the man to this cat-chinned party,
an' his best attriboots, perhaps, is a shock of curly ha'r,
long enough an* voloom'ously thick enough, to afford
nests for forty flyin' squirrels. This yere car'cachoor
of a gent is behind his desk in Pete Eland's bean-j'int,
when we-all comes sadly troopin' up Red Dog's single
street. Likewise his bein' thar is shorely onder the pub
lic welfare clause of the constitootion, so far as Texas
is involved. The instant our beautiful vis'tin' lady
claps her tear-dimmed eyes on him, she gives one heart
felt squawk, t'ars loose from the protectin' pinion of
Missis Rucker, an* the next moment grapevines herse'f
about his neck.
"My beloved husband!' she cries, her head on his
shoulder, him standin' stock still, with eyes like a macker
"Peets is first to find his mental feet: which Peets
ondoubted is the briskest sharp west of the Atlantic ocean I
' Go ! ' says he to Boggs ; ' b'ar the gladsome news to Texas ! '
"Nacherally confoosion reigns. The Red Dog chief,
however, continyoos to be all urban'ty. He draws
Enright to one side:
"Thar's nothin' this chipmunk commits/ says he,
tossin' his thumb toward the capchoored husband, 'which
onder Red Dog rooles requires lynchin'. None the less,
an' by way of compliment to you-all Wolfville guests of
ours, if you says the word we hangs him up.'
"But Enright declar's sech moves onnecessary, no
p'int of honor bein' involved. 'Moreover,' he observes,
'thar's the feelin's of his wife.'
"'Gents/ says the capchoored cat-chinned party,
when he beholds us glowerin' at him plenty baleful
for we're thinkin' of pore Texas's sufferings 'I pleads
guilty to bein' this lady's husband; also, I admits I'm
wrong when I assoomes a alias. An' yet, gents, Joolia'll
tell you thar's no malignancy in me. I don't smoke, or
drink, or chew terbacco, or sw'ar, or go cavortin' about
after the sex. In all respecks I'm a mighty moral man.'
"'Which I reckons you be,' comments Enright, plumb
severe. 'Morality, that a- way, is freequent a question
of health, an* you certainly does seem much too sickly to
be sinful.' Then, addressin' the beautiful visitin' lady,
who's still looped onto her prod'gal husband's neck, 'Is
thar aught in favor of this maverick ? '
"'Pore John,' she sobs, 'is one of the best of husbands;
except he ain't what you might call se'f supportin* none.
Otherwise, he's plumb good.'
"'It's not for me to crit'cise, ma'am,' says Enright,
turnin' away. 'This horned toad belongs to you, not
me. Only, he ought to be brought to ree'lize, as the ex-
per'ence of the centuries, that it's a heap sight more
important in this world, for a gent to make good than to
be good; which tenet applies with double force to hus
'"Never you mind, dearie,' coos Missis Rucker, as
she an' Faro Nell an' Tucson Jennie gather about, pettin'
an' cossettin' the beautiful vis'tin' lady, ' never you mind !
You've got your husband ag'in! I was shore we'd on-
earth him somehow, from the jump.'
"'No voylence,' commands Enright some stern, as
THE FALSE ALARM
Texas arrives with Boggs, the old f'rocious fire in his
ontamed glance, 'no voylence!'
'"Voylence?' repeats Texas, full of bitter scorn at
the idee. ' Gents, I'm a artist of revenge. This craven
has caused me agony ontold; but what then? Shall I
down him an' him a married man! Never! Sech steps
would be weakness blind, witless weakness, not ven
geance. No; I shall let him live on a husband. An*
when she embarks for Tucson with him, I'll ride by the
side of the coach, not as a gyard, not to keep him from
escaping but for the priv'ledge of gloatin' of solacin'
my harrassed soul with savage gloats/
"Cherokee/ observes Boggs later, when him an*
Cherokee is makin' a mootial round-up of results, 'do
you-all remember them closin' remarks of Texas'?
Now an' then, when somethin' intervenes that a-way,
to lift one of his griddles, I ketches fiery glimpses
in Texas of some of the worst elements of a fiend.'
"Which once he's roused/ returns Cherokee, shakin*
his head, 'you bet Texas is a mighty invet'rate form of
THE JEST OF TALKY JONES
DO I believe in this yere Christian Science?"
My aged philosopher looked up to repeat the
question. The magazine, which he held in
his hand, carried a bitter attack on Christian Science,
its founder and all who embraced the one or followed the
other. "Well, no," he continued; "I can't say I goes
with it tamely from soda to hock; but I believes it some.
One thing shore" shaking the magazine "I ain't none
in favor of harrassin' the deeclinin' years of a lady, jest
because we don't agree. Speakin' for myse'f, personal,
I don't favor harrassin' any lady, no matter who she is or
what's her little game. It ain't my system, me holdin'
that ladies has enough to struggle ag'inst as mere ladies,
without some he-profligate seekin' to heap their burdens
"Reecurrin' to Christian Science, my jedgment's
with it every now an' then. I believes for example
that you-all can up an' think yourse'f sick when
you're well. But I finds myse'f hesitatin' 'round be
tween a balk an' a break-down when I ondertakes to
assoome that you can think yourse'f well when you're
sick. In sech events I calls in Doc Peets, an' falls back
on drugs entire.
THE JEST OF TALKY JONES
"In Tennessee, when I'm a yearling old Missis Grim-
shaw lays in bed for years, allowin' she can't walk none.
She'd set up, an' try on bunnets, an' buy frocks, an'
trail out after the fashions, same as if she's goin* to take
in all the infares an' soap b'ilin's an' sociables an' quiltin'
bees an* huskin* frolics along the 'Possum Trot. But
jest the same she never budges out o' bed; holdin', as I
says, that her laigs ain't no more use that a-way than a
couple of corn-stalks.
"Sis Grimshaw keeps up this fiction about them laigs
for seven years, when one day the hired girl drops a
skillet of red-hot fat, an' sets the dug-out afire. Thar-
upon old Sis Grimshaw comes b'ilin' out from between
the blankets, an' runs a mile an' a half like a jackrabbit.
Which this yere dash down the pike brings her to the near
est neighbor. That's as far as she canters; she cripples
down right thar. An' as soon as ever old Grimshaw can
round himse'f up another habitat, she piles into bed ag'in
instanter, an' never does get up no more. Now a dose or
two of Christian Science would mighty likely have fetched
Sis Grimshaw to her feet. It's a case of where she's
well, an' only thinks she's sick.
"But take the time we-all lynches B'ar Creek Stanton:
Do you reckon B'ar Creek would have beat that lariat-
windmill game the stranglers opens on him, by merely
thinkin' his neck ain't been stretched none? Skurcely!
It marks the difference between a theery an' a condition.
B'ar Creek confronts a condition; Sis Grimshaw's up
ag'inst nothin' worse than a theery. In her case, Chris
tian Science beats the play too easy. That occult branch
of hooman learnin', however, would have found things
plenty changed, if it had stacked in ag'inst that illness of
B'ar Creek's. No amount of thinkin', whether Chris
tian or scientific, can moderate the hangin' feas'bilities of
a rope an' a windmill in exact proportions.
" Thar's bounds to the power of hooman thought, same
as thar is to the range of a rifle. Thought'll only carry
so far. You-all, by thinkin', can't keep two an' two
from makin' four, or hocus them honest noomerals into
makin' five. The good book tells of the faith that moves
mountains; but thar's nothin' in that holy bluff which
preecloodes picks an' shovels as a deetail. Shore, thar's
a faith that moves mountains; still, you can make a
swell bet it ever preecedes them changes in the scenery
by layin' in a stock of foose an' powder an' diamond
drills. Christian Science, same as every other science,
is like the limb of a tree. It'll hold, if you don't go
coonin' out too far. Over-play, an' down you go to the
ground, hurtin' or not hurtin' yourse'f, accordin' as
you've been perchin' low or roostin' 'way up yonder.
"Let me reepeat, son, thar's a limit goes with every
hooman game. I reads where some sun-kissed sport
waxes that extravagant he gives it out cold a day '11 dawn
when a gent'll live always, an' thar'll be no sech thing as
death. When a party takes to solacin' himse'f with
dreams as rannikaboo as that, he's locoed. To talk of
no one dyin', is to talk of no one bein' born. Either that,
or get ready for a final crush to which sardines will seem
as hermits. That's whatever! you'd read of them
diminyootive little fish as reclooses. That anti-dyin'
THE JEST OF TALKY JONES
sport has followed off the wrong trail. Life is like
a dance hall; an' we'll nacherally keep on dancin'
an* dyin', ontil the floor-manager whoever he is an*
wharever he is orders on the last walse, an' winds up
the baile with the final call, 'All prom'nade to the bar of
"That's the way I wants the game played, too. I
wouldn't live a minute onless I was shore I could die.
Which if some angel was to prounce down on me right
yere, with the news that I'm goin' to live always, I'd
drop dead in my cha'r. Considerin' my years, I'm some
rugged; but if ever it gets proned into me, as a fixed belief,
that my grave ain't goin' to be digged none an' I'm yere
to stay, I'll rot down right thar."
The old gentleman paused to pour out a drink; plainly
his philosophy had made him dry. I took advantage
of the moment's silence. Had he experienced aught in
Arizona that exhibited the supremacy of mind over
"Which I've beheld a party skeered to sech extents it
turns his ha'r white as paper. Will I reelate partic'lars ?
Nothin' easier. The story 'llustrates the perils of prac
tical jokin', 'speshully when it's too practical.
"The West has an acoote sense of yoomer; but if I'm
ever called on, to confer with any gent who's figgerin'
on crossin* the Mississippi, I'll shore advise ag'inst him
becomin' jocose. More guns have cracked, an* more
folks gone shoutin' home to heaven in the smoke, as the
frootes of bein' witty that a-way, than can be p'inted to
as the harvest of hoss stealin', or stickin' up stages, or
any other strickly legitimate avenoo of swellin' a grave
"It's prompt on the discovery of ore in the vicin'ty of
Wolfville, that Talky Jones comes rackin' in from the
Tin Cup district, which region of mines lies some'ers
over towards the Gunnison country. Bern' a cattleman,
I saveys nothin' of minin', more'n to hanker 'round the
rim of one of them orifices they calls a shaft, an* look on a
lot. But I knows Talky, same as does everybody else
in Wolfville, before that verbose cimarron is present in
our midst a day. Thar's folks who could out drink or
out dance or out gamble Talky, or lay way over him in
sundry other fields of hooman endeavor; but, at bein'
simply volyooble, he leaves the ablest of us miles behind.
That's why he's called 'Talky.'
"Texas Thompson allows that if he himse'f is gifted
with half Talky 's powers of conversation, his Laredo
wife who soos out the divorce, would have been subdooed
into a different lady.
"'She despises me,' says Texas, 'because she out-talks
me. Now if I'm only possessed of Talky's flow of words,
I'd have shore swept her off her verbal feet, an' landed
her gaspin' but inarticyoolate on the banks of domestic
dispootation. She'd have been too busy, savin' herse'f
from bein' drowned in the currents of my eloquence,
to think of sep'rations. Likewise, she'd have loved me a
whole lot; for sech is female nacher. All you has to do
to hold a lady's heart, is lay back ontil she boards her
long suite, an' then cut loose an' beat her to a standstill/
"Talky ain't been with us a week when he enlists at-
THE JEST OF TALKY JONES
tention by the effervesence of his sperits. He's one of
them buoyant souls, that comes tiptoein' along with a
stingin' lizard they've hived for sech speshul occasions,
an* drops said reptile into a gent's pocket, him bein'
preeockepied about somethin* else. Or ag'in, on ob-
servin' some party wropped in sleep or licker or both,
they'll slide a horned toad down the back of his neck.
"Not that Talky always gets away with his antic an*
lightsome bluffs onscathed. Once when Boggs is pourin*
out his reequired forty drops in the Red Light, Talky
comes Injinin' up from the r'ar, plannin' some hylarious
outburst. He don't take the trick; Boggs gets a flash
of him in the lookin' glass back of the bar bein' a
watchful sport, that a-way an', instead of tossin' the
nose-paint down his throat, he tosses it over his shoulder
into Talky's eyes.
"Ever get a glass of licker in your eyes? No ? Well
you ain't missed nothin'. It's one of them experiments
that's a heap sight better read about than ree'lized. I
passes through some sech ordeal a long time ago in
Dodge, an' for a poignant second I figgers it's the s'loon
"That time Boggs out-manages Talky, Enright can't
reefrain from rebookin' the latter.
"It's with no desire, Talky, to make you ondooly
proud/ says Enright, after that yoomerist ceases howlin*
an' dancin* an 1 rubbin' his eyes, ' that I congratchoolates
you on livin' into middle life. With your pecooliar
talents for witticisms, it's nothin' short of mir'cles that
years ago you ain't been killed.'
"These yere strictures, comin' from Enright too,
sobers Talky down a heap; tharafter he confines his
gayeties to tenderfeet, an* don't practice 'em none on us
orgi'nal Wolfville wolves.
"Except for his irreepres'ble appetites for practical
jokin', thar's not much fault to be found with Talky.
As a minin' gent he's shore industrious; an* that he's
broke an* out o' dinero when he strikes camp don't
weigh ag'in him none, since bankruptcy is the normal
state of prospectors. He goes to knockin' about in the
sityooation mighty reedundant, an* in less'n ten days
he stakes out a mine. Then he invents one of them
dead-falls called a stock company, an' borrys money of
Cherokee Hall to deevelope his claim. Cherokee, turnin'
farobank like he does, has more free money than any
other gent in camp; I reckon now his roll's as good as
sixty thousand dollars. He peels off five thousand for
Talky; an* Talky hocks all of the company's stock to
"'What's the difference?' returns Cherokee, when
Tutt lets on he's seen the last of that five thousand.
'Thar's nothin'like promotin' home industries. Talky's
goin' to spend every splinter of it yere in town, an' soon or
late it'll all get changed in across my lay-out ag'in.
Pendin' which, you-all don't want to overlook the
fact, Dave, that I've got said stock.'
"'Which we've got said stock/ chips in Faro Nell,
from her look-out stool, correctin' Cherokee. 'Ain't
you an' me partners?'
"'Right, Nell,' says Cherokee; 'half the bank-roll's
THE JEST OF TALKY JONES
yours. Also t'other half's yours, whenever you signs me
up to that effect. 1
"Talky takes Cherokee's five thousand, hires a peas
ant from Red Dog of the name of Chicken Bill, an'
away goes them two mavericks, pick an* drill an* dyna
mite an' windlass, borin' their egreegious holes into the
bosom of the y'earth. Bein' started, they sticks to their
diggin' like a brace of badgers. When him an* Chicken
ain't diggin' their hole, the eboolient Talky is p'ramboo-
latin' an* pervadin' 'round, from the Red Light to the
O. K. House, an' from thar to the dance hall, as full of
fun as a Virginny Reel.
"It ain't sayin' too much to put it that Talky gains in
public esteeme as time goes on. He calls his mine the
'Anna-ann Marie/ after his daughter who he says is at
boardin' school in Denver, gettin' her horns knocked off.
Talky allows he'll have her visit him, as soon as ever the
exam'nations is through, an' the poopils counterbranded
into grades above. Anna-ann Marie'll then be foot
loose an' free to come. When we learns about
Talky's girl, our good opinions goes soarin' higher
"Only/ says Boggs, 'I don't see how Talky can so
lack in se'f respect as to prance 'round, playin* his low-
down reedic'lous jests, him the parent of a eddicated
daughter like this Anna-ann Marie. Which if it's me
now, I'd never crack my face with a grin, I'd be that
"'That's whatever!' says Tutt. 'Speakin' as the
author of little Enright Peets, I want to say it abates my
native friskiness two-thirds, me fearin' to set that angel
child a gala example.'
"Talky an* Chicken Bill has sunk their shaft mebby
it's fifty feet, when thar comes rattlin' into town a sallow-
seemin' young person from the far East. This yooth
hands out his title as Dobson Clay Dusenberry. After
gettin' him to repeat it several times, we yoonanimously
decides to call him 'Gooseberry Ben' as easier.
"Which this Gooseberry fledglin* don't dally 'round
none, but comes to centers prompt. He informs us that,
havin' money of his own, he's out to invest in mines.
In a mood of proodence, he's reesolved to first learn all
thar is to know as a shore-enough miner; he's anxious
to dig an' drill an' blast an' perform 'round in a mine,
same as though he ain't got enough riches to buck ten-
"Harborin' these yere horny-handed ambitions, it
falls in nacheral enough that, before second drink time
the first evenin', Gooseberry's neegotiatin' away his
liberties with Talky, an' that mine owner enrolls him as
aide to himse'f an' Chicken Bill.
" Next mornin' Gooseberry surges forth in rust-colored
overalls an' wammus; an', poco tiempo, him an' Talky an'
Chicken Bill goes cavortin' out to the Anna-ann Marie.
"'Sech a romantic name I' is what I hears Gooseberry
say, as the three disappears.
"The Anna-ann Marie is the longest part of a mile
from camp, so none of us knows personal jest what takes
place. But this is what Gooseberry tells Doc Peets,
when Peets is standin' over his lowly couch at the O. K.
THE JEST OF TALKY JONES
House, givin' him stimyoolants an' tryin' to cool down his
"'At the suggestion of the malignant Talky,' explains
Gooseberry, 'him an* me deescends into the shaft, leavin'
the vulgarian Chicken on the surface. We went down
in a bucket, Chicken onwindin' us from a rickety old
"'Once at the bottom, Talky an' me with sledge an'
drill perpetrates a hole, me holdin' the drill. When the
hole meets the tastes of Talky, he puts in a dynamite
cartridge, connects it with a long five-minute foose, an'
packs it in an' thumbs it about with wet clay.
"'This accomplished, I'm hauled to the surface by
Chicken. I adds my strength to the windlass; Talky
climbs into the bucket, lights the foose, passes the word,
an' is wound to the top by me an' Chicken. We then
drug the windlass aside, covered the mouth of the shaft,
an' scampered for refooge permiscus.
"'At the end of five minutes from the time Talky
lights the foose, an' mebby three minutes after we-all
takes to hidin' out, the shot explodes with a deefenin'
report. Tons of rock shoots hundreds of feet into the
shrinkin' air! It's all mighty impressive, an' gives me a
lesson in the awful power of dynamite. I'm a heap
pleased, an' cannot but feel I'm shore learnin'.
"'Followin' the blast, Talky an' me ag'in reepairs to
the bottom of the shaft. Cl'arin' away the deebris, an'
sendin' it up an' out by the bucket, we resoomes work
with sledge an' drill.
"It's now an' yere the monster Talky begins to put
into execootion a plot he has formed ag'inst me, in the
carryin' out of which the barbarous Chicken lends his
felon aid. You must remember that ontil now I has
perfect confidence in these yere ghouls.
"'" Which I never sees no tenderfoot," begins Talky,
"who goes rompin' along like you do at this business!"
"'This encomium ain't on the level; the murderer is
fattenin' me for the sacrifice.
"'"Looks like you're born to be a miner," Talky goes
on, "an' I'd be doin' wrong to hold you back. Yoosual
I wouldn't feel jestified in lettin' no tenderfoot fire a
shot till he's worked three months; but you're different.
You has a genius for minin'; it comes as easy to you as
suckin' aiggs! Sech bein' the case, I'm goin' to let you-
all fire the next shot yourse'f."
'"Nacherally I feels pleased. To be allowed to
fire a shot my first day in a shaft I esteems a honor.
It'll be somethin' to write home about to my folks.
"'Talky says he'll put in the shot one of giant size.
I sees the hercoolean explosive placed in the hole. Talky
attaches the foose, an' thumbs the clay about it same as
prior. Then he turns to me.
'""After I'm hauled up," he says, "an* me an' Chick
en's organized, you clamber into the bucket an' light the
foose. Followin' which you raises the long yell, an' me
an* Chicken'll yank you out. But be shore an' light the
foose. Thar's nothin' so plumb aggravatin' as waitin'
'round up top for half an hour, an' no cartridge goin'
off. Speshully when she goes off after you've come
pirootin' back to locate what's wrong. This yere ought
THE JEST OF TALKY JONES
to be a proud, high moment for you! firm' a shot the
first six hours you're a miner!"
"'Talkey ascends; when him an' Chicken's at the
windlass, he shouts down: "All ready below!"
"'I'm in the bucket. At the call I scratches a match,
an' touches off the foose. It sputters an' smudges an'
sparkles with alarmin' ardor, throwin' off a shower of
sparks like fireworks!
"'"H'ist away!" I yells.
"'At this signal the villains runs me up half way;
thar they come to a dead halt, leavin' me fast in the shaft.
From what appears, both Talky an' Chicken have aban
doned the windlass, an' are locked into a personal alter
cation. I knows nothin' of their trouble; all I hears, as
I swings thar over deestruction, is a storm of curses an'
threats. Then they takes to shootin', presoomably at
"'" Which I'll blow your heart out!" I hears Talky
"You mis'rable oppressor of the toilin' masses,"
Chicken roars back, "I'll shore shoot you off the map!"
"It's "bang! bang! bang!" in a perfect network of
"Doc,' continyoos Gooseberry, after gulpin' down a
teaspoonful of Old Jordan, 'I leaves you to imagin' my
feelin's. My alarm is without a fence. I'd seen one
cartridge go off; thar I be, swingin' twenty-five feet above
a still heavier charge, awaitin' eternity, while them
fiends in hooman form are fightin' out some infamous
feud of their own. I cannot deescribe my agony! The
foose is spittin' fire like forty dragons! The shaft is
choked with smoke! Thar am I, frantic, ha'r-hung,
he'pless above annihilation, an* them blood-hungry
monsters bootcherin' one another aloft! Either from
the smoke or the excitement, I faints away.
"'On comin' to,. I finds myse'f outside on the grass,
while Talky an' the disrepootable Chicken is lookin* on
an* laughin' themselves out o' one fit into another over
the joke. Thar had been no shot placed in the hole;
the heartless Talky palms it, an* carries it with him to
the surface. Thar's nothin' but the wet clay an* the
"'At my nacheral inquiry, made in tones as weak as
water, as to what it all means, them miscreants breaks
out laughin' afresh, an' allows it's part of the preescribed
'niation of a tenderfoot.
"'"It'll give you nerve!" says Talky. "Sech plays is
calk'lated to put heart into you, an' do you good."
"'After which, him an' Chicken falls to renooed
laughter, said mirth, an' their asshorance that the drinks
is on me, bein' all the reedress I gets/
"In Arizona every gent is the sole jedge of his own
jests; wharf ore, concernin' them adventures of Goose
berry, no public steps is took. Still, when Texas Thomp
son advises that sufferer to frame himse'f up with a
shot-gun, an* down an' bury both Talky an' Chicken in
the Anna-ann Marie, an' even goes so far as to borry a
fowlin' piece from the Wells-Fargo people, wharwith
to make the play, the idee finds tacit approval.
"Nothin' comes of it, however; Gooseberry urgin'
THE JEST OF TALKY JONES
that sheddin' blood is reepugnant to his nacher. He
declares he'll seek other avenoos of revenge.
"'For vengeance I shall have!' says he.
" Meanwhile, as evincin' how he's shore been harrowed
up a lot, Gooseberry's ha'r turns white as milk.
"Talky exults inordinate in them crooelties he levels at
Gooseberry; far from feelin' repentance, he allows it's the
hunkiest joke he ever pulls off. He laughs every time it
crosses his mem'ry; an' he buys gallons an' gallons of rum,
keepin' his appreciation tharof at featheredge. Black
Jack himse'f admits that a few more sech joyous out-
bursts'll be the makin' of the Red Light."
THE CONFUSION OF TALKY
WHO'S that poet sharp who says laughter goes
before tears, an* sunshine preecedes a shower
a heap. Whatever's his name an' brand, I'm
yere to remark he makes a center shot. Right while he's
consoomin' rum an' nursin' his ongodly glee, Fate is
heatin' the reetributive pitch for Talky in manners on-
"Talky's Denver daughter comes dancin' in; which
the advent of that damsel may be regyarded as the be-
ginnin' of the return play. This Anna-ann Marie girl
is a comely, corn-fed maiden, an* the credit'blest thing
about Talky of which any of us ever hears. Seein' she's
the only soul in camp onto whom he ain't onloaded the
tale, Talky straightway tells her of the jest he plays on
"Anna-ann Marie looks serious an' plenty shocked.
"'Why, paw! she says; 'however could you-all be that
"'Callous!' retorts Talky, all puffed up with vanity.
'Child, you're Pap ain't callous, he's jest cunnin'
cunnin' as a pet coyote.' Then he p'ints across
the street to Gooseberry, where that invalid's pot-
terin' about on two canes, him bein' as yet all on-
THE CONFUSION OF TALKY
strung. 'See them ha'rs the color of snow ? I regyards
that milk-white top-knot as a triboote to my powers as
"'Don't he look interestin' ? ' says Anna-ann Marie.
'Them snowy locks shore makes him the image of Monte
" Of course no one saveys who this yere Monte Cristo
is, leastwise no one only Peets, but none of us is that
blinded we can't read a kind of tenderness in the glances
of Anna-ann Marie. As she gazes across at Gooseberry,
cripplin' 'round on his two sticks, her eyes lights softly
up like the windows of a hurdy-gurdy on the evenin' of a
fandango. Talky is that besotted he don't notice; but
the rest of us shakes our heads an' smiles. Already we
perceives, that on the principle of him laughin' best who
laughs last, affairs may yet manage themselves so as to
give Gooseberry the high ground.
"That evenin', in the O. K. dinin'-room, Anna-ann
Marie gets acquainted with Gooseberry, Missis Rucker
"'Seem' you-all folks,' says Missis Rucker, who's a
stickler for the propri'ties, 'seem' you-all folks is goin'
to be more or less elbow to elbow over your chili-con-
carne, you shore'll feel freer that a-way if you knows each
others names. Miss Jones, Mister Dusenberry. Goose
berry, this yere's Talky 's darter, Anna-ann Marie.'
"Events commences to pile up. Between Anna-ann
Marie an' Gooseberry, it's a case of mootual admira
tion from the jump; they simply falls together like a
shock of oats. An', when you reflects how she's plumb
idle, while he's broke in his nerve an' honin' for sympathy,
it's all easy to onderstand.
"Also, Anna-ann Marie begins to broaden her visitin'
list. In the days which ensoos, when she ain't h'antin'
amic'bly about with Gooseberry, she an* Faro Nell is
chatterin' away together as sociable as bloo jays. Them
maidens gets as thick as thieves.
"That thar is vis'ble feachures to the 'comedy' as
Peets calls it bein' played before our eyes, finds proof
in a reemark of Boggs. He's talkin' to Tutt:
"Dave/ he says, 'I leaves it to you, as a married man,
if that Anna-ann Marie an' Gooseberry ain't fallin' into
"'Sech,' responds Tutt, 'is the onbiased findin' of my
wife, Tucson Jennie; an', in them honied matters of the
heart, Jen never fails of locatin' every bee-tree in the
"'Well,' says Boggs, 'I argues as much from Goose
berry goin' about constant, grinnin' eediotic. With
nothin' whatever to grin at, he'll plant himse'f for hours
an' grin at a mark. I calls Doc Peets' attention to it,
thinkin' Gooseberry's intellects has pulled their picket
pin an' he's goin' locoed. " It's only bliss," says the Doc.
"Gooseberry's in love." 3
'"Which the Doc ought to know,' responds Tutt.
'If thar's a gent in Arizona, upholstered mental to read
every sign an' signal smoke of hooman sentiment, it's
" Affairs swings along in this way most a month, Anna-
ann Marie an' Gooseberry sunshinin' 'round one an-
THE CONFUSION OF TALKY
other, an' Anna-ann an' Faro Nell colloguin' among
themselves girl fashion. No; Talky don't wake up.
Days he's down in the shaft ; evenin's he's too busy cel'-
bratin' that jest of his, which so triumphantly skeers up
"One day Faro Nell, Anna-ann Marie an' Goose
berry convenes speshul, an' has a powwow. No one
considers it as more'n the yoosual gossip of yearlin's,
ontil Faro Nell skips over to the Red Light to see
" ' About you an' me bein' partners that a-way ? ' says
Faro Nell, like she's askin' a question.
"' Shore!' says Cherokee, in the tones of a gent who
agrees to everything in advance.
"'Then paw over that Anna-ann Marie stock,' says
Faro Nell. 'Yereafter it's to be mine entire.'
"' Shore!' says Cherokee; an', takin' the stock from
the drawer of his faro table, he tosses her the bundle.
"Two minutes later Nell an' the stock is back with
Anna-ann Marie an' Gooseberry, an' that convention
of three is resoomed.
"The followin' day but one, Nell with Anna-ann Marie
an' Tucson Jennie goes headin' for Tucson. The next
day Gooseberry, lookin* more ecstatically eediotic than
common, lines out sim'lar.
"'Doc,' says Enright, glancin* up at Peets from his
licker mighty benignant, 'this yere's gettin' some intri
"'If it ain't I'll j'ine the church!' says Peets, plenty
"'My wife Jen rides herd on the racket as a chapper
oney,' observes Tutt, kind o' pompous.
" ' Chapperoney ! ' exclaims Boggs. ' Which I reckoned
I'm onto all the brands on the lingual range, but that's
one I can't read/
"'Dan/ retorts Tutt, a heap spleenetic, 'how often
does I tell you you ought to take a term or two at night
school ? A chapperoney, in any social break, is same as
a look-out or case-keeper in farobank. She tabs the
kyards as they comes out, sees to it that all bets is paid,
an* speshully she's watchful that folks, crim'nally in
clined an' surreptitious, don't get away with no sleepers.'
"Boggs looks dazed, an' turns implorin'ly to Texas
Thompson. Texas reepulses him a heap f'rocious.
' ' Don't say nothin' to me! ' cries Texas. ' As one who
has suffered by wedlock, I refooses to converse on any
"Married-people topics!' repeats Boggs, more an'
more fogged up. 'Texas, either me or you or some
gent else is gettin' batty.'
"Talky shows in the door jest then, an' nothin' more
"'Finest girl in the world, that Anna-ann Marie!'
says Talky presently, shovin' the bottle. 'She sees a
good deal of s'ciety in Denver, an' Wolfville strikes her
as a trifle slow I s'ppose. Yearnin' for meetropolitan
action that a-way, she allows she'll go squanderin' over
to Tucson. But she'll be back ag'in, gents, when she's
got her play-spell out. An' by the way, that Anna-ann
Marie claim of mine is goin' to be the min'ral marvel of
THE CONFUSION OF TALKY
Cochise county. From the ore me an' Chicken on-
covers to-day, the valyoo of that property'll need seven
figures to express it. Gents, take a drink on the Anna-
ann Marie. Barkeep, you hears my gentle voice!'
" Jack Moore has been tackin' up a notice on the Red
Light door, usin' the butt of his gun for a tack-hammer.
As Talky alloods to the Anna-ann Marie, Moore sings
out to him:
"'Speakin' of that prospect of yours, Talky; yere's a
small jimcrow publication which ought to rivet your
"'Whatever is it?' asks Talky, goin' to read the
writin', glass in hand.
"'Which it sounds to onprejewdiced y'ears,' says
Jack, 'like a call for a annyooal meetin' of the stock
"Thar it is, in frigid black an' white, summonin' a
meetin' of the share-holders of the Anna-ann Marie
mine, to be held in the wareroom of the New York Store
two days away.
"'Bull snakes an' blizzards!' says Talky, as he reads
it; 'whatever does this portend?'
"Talky heads for Cherokee, an' deemands light.
"'I'm some in the dark myse'f,' says Cherokee. 'But
of course, Talky, you knows that note for the five thou
sand is overdoo an' onpaid two weeks?'
"'What of it?' returns Talky. 'You-all don't aim
to t'ar into me like a iron-hearted yoosurer, do you, an'
swipe all that Anna-ann Marie stock? Don't tell me
you're that rapacious; I won't believe it.'
"'Me rapacious?' replies Cherokee, meek as Mexican
sheep. 'Personal, I've been backed plumb out o' the
play. It's Nell who's your reemorseless cred'tor. As
to what is that young business lady's intentions, all I
knows is I hears her say she's out to perpetrate a huge
jest on you-all, with which you as a born wit would
be deelighted to a frazzle.'
"Talky turns white an' red an' green an' bloo, an' then
settles down to yellow.
'"This yere's a trap!' he shouts.
"Cherokee represses Talky with upraised palm.
Then he searches out a 9-inch bowie from some'ers
back of his neck, an' sort o' dictates at Talky with the
'"I don't want to discourage you,' says Cherokee,
fixin' Talky with a eye as gray an' keen as the bowie he's
toyin' with, 'but before you romances along too far, it's
right you should be warned. It's a voylation of the
Wolfville rooles to go animadvertin' on Nell. Be proo-
dent, tharfore; a breath ag'in Nell means the loss of
"Talky, speakin' conversational, begins to back like
an overbitted pony. That comb'nation of gray eye an'
gray bowie has him buffaloed.
"He gasps out: 'Shorely you'll control her?'
" ' Control Nell ? ' an' Cherokee smiles a wise smile an'
shakes his head. 'Talky, you asks the clay to control the
potter. Nell's a star, sky-born an' imperial; an' as sech
loominary it don't reequire no astronomer to onderstand
she's plumb above control.'
THE CONFUSION OF TALKY
"Talky, findin' he's up ag'inst it with Cherokee, goes
totterin' back to that notice, an' re-reads the same.
"'I shall refoose to attend/ says Talky, after a pause.
'Itain't legal none; I'll go in the air, take to buck-jumpin/
an* deecline to lend my presence to sech outrages on
"'You won't attend none?' says Jack Moore, mighty
grim. 'You'll attend, you bet, or it'll become my dooty,
as kettle tender for the stranglers, to make you some
hard to find.'
"That social party comes rummagin' along back from
Tucson, an' in doo time the annyooal meetin' of the
share-holders of the Anna-ann Marie gets together. It's
certainly a most amazin' round-up. That stock's been
shuffled an' cut an' dealt, an' sent cirkyoolatin' all about
the board, ontil mighty near every -gent in camp to say
nothin' of Tucson Jennie, Missis Rucker an' Faro Nell
has ten shares each. As for that Gooseberry, he
bursts on mankind as the pride-swollen an' plootocratic
possessor of nine thousand nine hundred and ten shares,
bein' what's left. Every share-holder is present, solemn
as prairie dogs all except Black Jack, who depyootizes
Gooseberry to be his proxy.
"I don't see what I'm doin' yere/ says Talky, sneerin*
bitterly, when the lay of the land is made plain to him;
'I ain't got no stock.'
"'All the same/ breaks in Boggs, 'you're goin' to stay
a whole lot. We needs your counsel. You've been
delvin' in our mine practical, an' we-all stock-holders
wants a report as to the condition of our property/
"'That's whatever!' chimes in Texas Thompson.
'An* see that said reeport is plenty succinct; we'll shore
resent bein' hoodwinked.'
"'Merely in a mood of idle cur'osity,' observes Talky,
waxin' sarkastic, 'I'd like for to ask a cotton-headed
numbskull yere, who's called Gooseberry, how he comes
to own the heft of the Anna-ann Marie? Hopin' his
feeble fackulties is equal to a answer, I r'ars back an'
waits for his replies.'
"'Which I pays some'ers 'round the exorb'tant sum
of five thousand dollars for it,' says Gooseberry, 'the
same leavin' quite a hole in my patrimonial pile. An'
now fellow share-holders,' he goes on, wavin' his hand
p'litely about the room, 'with your consent I'll ask my
peevish interlocyooter concernin' matters of more per
sonal sort. Would you, Mister Jones' yere he dom'n-
ates at Talky with his fore-finger 'assoomin' me to
crave sech boons, consent to my marryin' your daughter
in bonds of holy matr'mony ? '
"As Gooseberry gets off this bluff, he gazes fondly
down on Anna-ann Marie, where she's tucked herse'f
in between Faro Nell an' Missis Rucker, demure as a
"'You marry my daughter!' shouts Talky in scorn.
'A snow-capped dolt talk of clamberin' to the heights
of becomin' my son-in-law! I'd sooner see Anna-ann
Marie the spouse of a Mexican I '
"Why, Paw!' says Anna-ann Marie, reproachful.
"'What do I tell you!' exclaims Gooseberry, lookin'
triumphant at Faro Nell an' Anna-ann Marie. 'Didn't
THE CONTUSION OF TALKY
I have this yere old serpent guessed out right?' Then,
comin' back to Talky ag'in: 'So shore be we of what's
your hellish p'sition touchin* our happiness, that me an*
Anna-ann Marie forestalls refoosal by takin' each other
for better an' for worse two days back in Tucson. Do
you-all see this ? ' an' Gooseberry pats his frosty skelp-
locks. ' Which I vows I'll have a vengeance ag'in you, an'
now I've got it.'
"'Vengeance!' whispers Texas Thompson to Boggs.
'He seizes on the hymeenial torch, sets fire to his
final chance of happiness in this life, an* calls it vengeance!
Dan, this Gooseberry's a howlin' eediot; Peets ought to
procoor a writ de loonatico an' lock him up.'
"'Do you-all mean,' demands Talky, glarin* at Goose
berry, 'that you two is husband an' wife?'
'"That's what the sky pilot tells us,' returns Goose
berry; 'an' I gives him the price of a stack of bloos for
the information. Likewise these excellent ladies'
p'intin' to Nell an' Tucson Jennie 'is thar, backin' the
play in person; an', while they're blinded by tears at the
time, I makes no doubt they witnesses enough to guar
antee the trooth of what I states.'
"They're shore wedded,' puts in Tucson Jennie, 'or
I'm no jedge of nuptials. One thing though/ an' Jennie
looks at Missis Rucker, who snorts her endorsements, 'I
insists on that preacher sharp leavin* out "obey".'
''Gents,' says Talky, appealin' 'round the room
mighty abject, 'you've heard what this pinhead Goose
berry says. The mud-blooded creature is actchooly my
son-in-law! I could have stood up ag'in bankruptcy,
but I wilts before disgrace. Proceed, gents; pronounce
my final doom.'
"'Let me pronounce it/ says Gooseberry; 'I owes him
that much for shatterin' my constitootion, an' changin'
my auburn locks to linen in the springtime of my days.
Mister Jones, me an' my wife, nee your daughter Anna-
ann Marie, figgers by way of weddin' trip on startin'
back tomorry to see my folks. They'll dote on Anna-
ann Marie, my folks will! My idee in takin' in these
sundry an' var'ous share-holders whom you sees assem
bled, is that doorin' our absence, an' to protect their
own interests, they'll take measures to keep you hard at
work deevelopin' the Anna-ann Marie. Of course you'll
get wages; which the same I leaves my fellow share
holders to fix.'
"'But I won't reemain none!' breaks in Talky, plenty
'" You'll stay,' retorts Boggs, 'if we has to hobble you.
Do you reckon you're goin' to abandon our property to
deestruction, jest to satisfy a pique?'
"'You-all may hold me captive,' returns Talky, dark
an' sullen; 'but I won't do a lick of work. I informs
you savages right yere that I'm not goin' -to be first
robbed an' then enslaved.'
"'Won't work?' speaks up Missis Rucker, as hard an'
raspin' as film* saws. 'You won't be fed no grub then.'
" ' Come, Talky,' observes Enright, his voice an' man
ner kindly, for he's beginnin' to feel sorry about Talky's
troubles; 'cheer up! This yere sityooation ain't so rock-
ribbed! I wouldn't let it sour my nacheral feelin's!
THE CONFUSION OF TALKY
A sport of your onyoosual sense of yoomer ought to see
its comic side. Besides, it's cattle to catbirds your son-
in-law, Gooseberry, '11 split up the Anna-ann Marie with
you, when him an' his bloomin' bride returns.'
" ' I don't want to seem no niggard,' observes Gooseberry,
' but permit me to say I shall not commence my wedded
life by enrichin' my wife's parent gratis. I'll go this far,
however: When I comes trackin' in from my trip like a
giant reefreshed, if the old man's been labor'ous an'
faithful, I'll let him into the Anna-ann Marie, mod'rate,
on the ground floor.'
"'Be you, too, a stock-holder?' asks Talky sadly, of
his daughter Anna-ann Marie.
"'Why yes, Paw,' she returns. 'My husband,
Dobson Clay Dusenberry, endows me with a even half of
them nine thousand-odd shares at the altar. But
certainly, as a dootiful he'pmeet I allows Dobby dear to
represent. You knows the sentiment, Paw:
"'Two souls with but a single thought,
hearts that vote as one.'
"It's a week later, an' thar's the afternoon lull in the
"Don't your figger, Nell,' asks Cherokee, 'that after
all you plays it some low on Talky, equippin' that son-in-
law Gooseberry to round on him an' run over him like
he does? Which pore Talky ain't been the same man
since; it's left his sens'bilities all spraddled out.'
"'Your mean old Talky party gets nothin' but what's
comin' to him,' returns Faro Nell. 'That Gooseberry
boy's entitled to reparations for what Talky makes him
suffer; tharfore I advises an' assists him in a Christian way.
Then see how plumb happy it makes him an' Anna-ann
Marie! As for your mis'rable Talky, I'll wager them
ten shares I reetains, that the next time he goes p'intin'
out to be funny an' concoct a joke, he'll shore play said
witticism with a copper on.' "
SOAP SUDS SAL
WEDLOCK that a-way," remarked my vener
able friend, replacing his glass on the table
the night was raw and damp "wedlock that
a-way as I shows you frequent comes mighty near
amountin' to a mania with Doc Peets; not for himse'f of
course, but other people. It looks like he can't see a
lady single a minute without tryin' to saw her off on some
ongyarded gent, him holdin' wedlock to be the only
legitimate means of perpetchooatin' the race.
"For myse'f, while I sees much in said latter bluff
to recommend it, an' give it dignity as argyooment, I re-
fooses to follow Peets when he talks of makin' marriage
"'Yes sir/ says Peets, bein' at the time hooked up in
heated pow-wow with Texas Thompson, who holds
other views 'yes sir; if I was business manager for the
public, I'd offer a bounty for the skelps of bachelors,
same as wolves. Which every bachelor is a suspect,
like a fox in a barnyard, an', if necessary to arouse his
sense of dooty, I'd shore employ drastic means.'
"'But Doc,' Texas protests, 'when you takes to
tossin' off threats about onmarried gents, that a-way,
you goes too far. Plungin' along in this yere fashion,
bridleless an' onhobbled, whatever's to become of them
constitootional tenets concernin' life, liberty an' the pur-
soot of happiness?'
"'Liberty!' exclaims Peets. 'You-all tarrapins must
n't make the error of runnin' liberty into license. No
gent is at liberty to become a public menace; an' sech,
I asserts onhesitatin', bachelors to be. Which you speaks
of the mar'tal condition, Texas, as if it's chains an* bond
age! Who, I asks, is freer than a married man?'
: "Sech her'sies, Doc,' replies Texas, waxin' petyoolant,
'almost inclines me to lapse into one of them disrepoot-
able exhibitions known as a weepin' drunk. Ladies is
by nacher despots; wedlock's only another name for
slavery; they calls 'em husbands, but they're reely
'"Dave Tutt ain't no serf,' says Boggs, cuttin' in on
the dispoote; 'an' he's shore married to Tucson Jennie
a whole lot. Dave's a husband, but jest the same you
bet! he's boss of his ranch.'
"'Dan,' retorts Texas, turnin' on Boggs some weary,
' in them oncalled for outbursts, you merely demonstrates
your ignorance. Which you'd better take a good hard
look at Dave. After you studies him awhile, you'll notice
he ain't boss none, he simply has lots to say.'
'"To be shore,' says Peets, comin' to the conversational
front ag'in, 'when I announces that I favors a bounty
for bachelors' skelps, it's to be onderstood thar's exemp
tions. Medicine sharps, like me, ought not to be per
mitted to marry, belongin' to the public, as I yeretofore
explains. Then thar should be a age-limit, which lets
SOAP SUDS SAL
out folks similar to Enright. Also, in instances like yours,
Texas, when a gent has been hon'rably mustered out by a
competent triboonal, same as in them Laredo divorce
proceedings I'd bar sech folks. Thar, however, I
draws the line. When I tracks up on some sprightly
party like Dan yere, it'ud become a case of " Die dog or
eat the hatchet!" I'd shore make that single-footer
get a wife, or get plumb off the y 'earth/
"'All the same, Doc/ says Texas, sullen an* resentful,
'onderstand me as stringin' my bets the other way. I
sees nothin* in your claims; none whatever! Wharin
does a married gent lay over a gent who ain't ? '
"'Wharin?' repeats Peets, never pinchin' down a
chip. 'Why, a married gent's got a bachelor skinned
forty ways from the jack! As I urges former, a single
gent is like a statchoo without a ped'stal; he needs a
wife to elevate him, an' keep him morally perpendicyoolar.
Not,' goes on Peets, 'that I would have you dedooce,
Texas, anythin' derog'tory to yourse'f from my remarks,
which are to be took in the abstract. As to yourse'f,
personal, I entertains the same profound respects I does
for Dave. Jest as I cel'brates Dave as a hero, so I
rev'rences you as a martyr to wedlock. Both is entitled
to honor; for a hero is but a martyr who succeeds, while
a martyr is only a hero who fails.'
"Doc,' cries Boggs, evincin' high excitement, an'
graspin' Peets by the hand mighty fervent, 'while I
won't say I wholly seizes your meanin', I'm yere to de-
clar* them sent'ments plumb corruscatin'!'
"Which I don't myse'f wonder at Boggs. Peets
shore is the most gifted sharp whoever spreads his blan
kets in Arizona.
"While my own feelin's," continued the old gentleman,
replenishing his glass, "don't keep exyooberant pace
with Peets concernin' matrimony, neither be I sech a
pessimist as Texas. Of course, I ain't married none
myse'f, an* never is; still I thinks I makes cl'ar to you
yeretofore how it shouldn't be charged ag'inst me none
as a dir'liction. No gent can be more sincere than me,
in them sev'ral footile attempts I makes to round myse'f
up a he'pmeet. But each time, as says the actor sport
over to the Bird Cage Op'ry House, 'thar's another
Richmond in the field/ an* it certainly looks like I ain't
speedy enough for competitions. After my noomerous
failures, I decides that mebby if I could only cross up with
some lady who ain't seen no gent for a year I might in the
course of another gentless year or two cajole her, an'
succeed in winnin* out her heart. However, ree'lizin'
that ladies answerin* that lonesome description is bound
to be plumb hard to find, I never makes no pecooliar
effort to cut the trail of any sech exotic, but lets life go as
" It's mighty mortifyin', too, when you comes to think
of it, an* perhaps it's in a onconscious effort to rescoo
my vanity that a- way, I long ago adopts a belief that get-
tin' married, like winnin* at farobank, involves no
question of personal merit, but only luck. Thar's old
Missis Barndollar, back in Tennessee when I'm a
yearlin': Sis Barndollar's as bitter as a pignut an* got
a face like one; an' yet she ups an* accyoomulates
SOAP SUDS SAL
seriatem as Peets would say seven husbands. It looks
like folks simply gets into the habit of marryin' Sis Barn-
dollar! She goes troopin' to the altar so often she w'ars
"Seven times, mind you! for I counts them licenses
myse'f, framed an' hangin' on the wall. She c'llects
an' keeps 'em same as a Injun does skelps. The other
six husbands is all planted in a row, in the Pine Knot
graveyard by the 'Possum Trot; an' final they adds
number seven to the list. Sis Barndollar cashes in her-
se'f shortly after, an' they gives her the right of the line.
It's only jestice they should. When the last trump
sounds an' graves gives up their dead, thar'll be Sis
Barndollar at the head of her own private procession,
ready to lead them seven on high as yeretofore
"If I'm called on for a opinion, I takes it Peets an'
Texas is both of 'em part right an' part wrong. Ladies,
as wives, breaks about even. They're like the kyards
in a deal-box; no matter how they're riffled an' cut, as
many falls to lose as falls to win. So troo is this that the
preacher sharp, when tyin' 'em together as husband an'
wife, always hedges the play by sayin' they 'takes each
other for better or for worse.' An' I'm free to observe,
sech holdouts is jest'fiable, an' but commonest proodence.
"Wedlock, from the gent's standp'int, ain't always
a onmixed vict'ry. Avoidin' any ref'rence to Missis
Rucker for which esteemable lady I owns the utmost
regyard, an' whose horns by any brash remarks I should
shore regret to draw my way let me, as calk'lated to
sustain my contentions, alloode briefly to Soap Suds Sal.
Thar's a lady ag'inst whom nothin' can be uttered. An'
yet this is what comes off.
"Soap Suds Sal ties down in bonds of matrimony a
boisterous young cow-puncher, one Riley Brooks. When
she ropes him, an' drags him up to be branded marital,
Riley's of as volatile an* effervescent a temperament as
any catbird teeterin' on a bough. I sees him myse'f,
at the cattle tournament which Wolfville an' Red Dog
pulls off conj'intly over by the Cow Springs, throw a
rope one hundred and five feet an* fasten, tie down a
steer an' stand at its head, loop free an' hands up in
twenty-two seconds by the jedge's watch, an' win a
Chihuahua saddle, worth ten head of fat cattle, by ridin'
successful the most voylent mustang that ever bites a
Spanish bit, or goes sunfishin' through all the mazes of a
fit of genyooine old fashioned, heart-felt, stiff-laigged,
worm-fence buckin'. An' yet, in the teeth of all them
feats, after he's a married man I meets Riley collectin'
shirts for Soap Suds Sal to wash; an', more'n that, he's
collectin' them garments afoot.
"No one ever makes out where Riley's lightness goes
to; but vamosed it shorely is. From the most gala boy
that ever tightens a back cinch or spurs his cayouse in the
shoulder, jest to see it arch its back and buck, he slumps
down dull an' inert, with no more elastic'ty of soul to him
than a bag of putty. Yes sir; moral, mental an' phys'cal,
Riley once he's married shows nothin' short of four inches
out o' plumb ! An' while I mustn't be constrooed as say-
in' that no gent could have espoused Soap Suds Sal an'
SOAP SUDS SAL
kept his balance, what I does assert is that sech is the
portrait of Riley Brooks.
"Speakin' of Peets's inveteracy about marryin' off
them single ladies whom he comes across, this yere Soap
Suds Sal is most likely the only one he ever passes up.
Not that he goes to the diskyard as to Sal, by virchoo of
him bein' timid; Peets, in a matter involvin' principle,
is that clean strain he'd break a span of bobcats to harness,
or perish in the attempt. My own idee is he's merely
se'fish, an* wishes to preserve Sal in them shirt-washin'
fields, wharin she's shore onclassed. As it is, however,
she don't require Peets's aid. Movin' husbandward in
her own good time an' way, she decides on Riley; an*
tharafter the kyards so to speak is shuffled an' dealt, pore
Riley picks up his hand as a married man, an' feebly
plays the same as though the whole racket, from soda to
hock, is foreordained.
"You-all remembers about the Washwoman's War?
An' how, as the upshot of that embroglio, which promises
for a space to spill the best blood of Wolfville, an' from
which nothin' onder the genius of Enright could have
led us forth, Benson Annie weds Mister French, while
Sal is left to slop suds, slam flat irons an' burn shirt-
bosoms, the oncrowned tub-queen of the camp. Follow-
in* that emyoote, things soon settles to orig'nal levels.
Boggs's laig gets well of Tutt's bullet, an' the triumphant
laundress allooded to proceeds to kyarve for herse'f a
nitch in commoonal economy, an' conquers commoonal
respect as 'Soap Suds Sal.'
"Sal is a large able lady, 'most as big as Boggs, an'
can heft a wash-boiler, overflowin' of soap-suds an'
duds, off the stove, as easy as ever Missis Rucker hefts
a fryin' pan of salthoss. Also, she keeps to herse'f, an*
never comes pesterin* no one except, some Chink breaks
in from Tucson with a slant-eyed purpose of inaug'ratin'
a tub-trundlin' opposition.
"When any sech shows up, Sal takes her hands out
o' the suds, rolls down her sleeves, puts on her shaker,
an* hunts up Enright.
"'Do I get any protection?' she begins. 'Am I
to become the victim of every opium slave that takes a
pigtailed notion to invade this yere camp ? Is thar man
hood s'fficient in Wolfville to stampede a heathen of the
Orient, who's aimin' a blow at the American fabric, or
must I put him over the jump myse'f ? an' me a he'pless
"While Sal's goin' on, Enright beats the air with his
hands, dumbly 'pologizin' an' invokin' Sal's forbearance.
When he's got her ca'med, he calls out to Jack Moore.
"'You sees, Jack, the trouble this onprotected child is
in. Won't you be so kind as to take your guns, an'
disperse that obnoxious son of Confoosius who's annoyin'
"Ten minutes later, Jack's bullets is cuttin' the grass
around the slippers of the offensive Chinaman, who's
burnin' up a mile of ground in gettin' away. Or mebby
Jack's took a half-hitch round his saddle-horn, with that
sooperfluous Mongol's cue same as when you-all ' tails'
a steer or a pony an' is yankin' him a mile or so out o'
camp at a hand-gallop. There yere latter proceedin's
SOAP SUDS SAL
is speshul shore to act fav'orable, inasmuch as they not
only serves as a convincin' hint to the Chink that he's
a ondesir'ble citizen, but likewise sufficiently indicates
the course we think he better pursoo. Restored to her
sovereignty of the tubs, an' hummin' a little toone, Sal
goes peacefully back to her shirt-burnin', suds-sloppin'
an* iron-slammin', heart at ease, the light of a serene con
tentment shinin' in her azyoore eyes.
"Which matters goes rackin' along in this yere satis-
fact'ry style for moons, an' no gent ever dreams of marry-
in' Sal. If I'm driven into a corner an* my bread took
away, in order to force from me a explanation why Sal
is thus immoone, I'd say we respects her too much.
Moreover Sal's too big an' strong to wed. When a lady
can pick up a side of beef an' hang it on a hook, an' not
even check the flow of her conversation, it's more apt
to excite admiration than su'gest nuptials. Then ag'in
Sal is heard to say she looks on old Rucker as a model
husband, a statement calk'lated to make a gent of wis
dom lean up ag'in somethin' an' think. However, to
give Sal doo credit, she never for a instant conducts her-
se'f like she harbors designs of matrimony, none whatever!
"Old Monte one time goes whisperin' yere an' thar
that Sal's done took to lookin' at him in a meanin' way;
an' he even lets up on rum, allowin' he's goin' to need
all his wits an' resolootion. But the camp gives no cree-
dence to these yere intimations, some holdin* 'em to be
lies, an' others they bein' impressed by Old Monte
quittin' nosepaint, a thing in itse'f thartofore onthinkable
in his case! deemin' 'em but a yoonique form of deli-
rium treemers, brought on by a change of licker which the
Red Light makes about that time.
"Whether or no Sal gets to adore Riley, is a problem
which has ever been beyond my depth. Ondoubted,
when she declares herse'f in favor of marryin' him that
a-way, an' carries him off to the altar, it's nacheral to
assoome she does. As ag'inst this, why ever does she
in cold blood redooce him an' him as buoyant a cow
puncher as ever sings 'Sandy Land' or breaks a bronco
to saddle! to the water-drawin' levels of a laundry,
an' a perepatetic skirmishin' for foul shirts ? As a play,
I'm yere to confess it's got me swept plumb off the board.
All I lays down for shore is, she does it; an' thar I leaves
you to go romancin' 'round in the tangle, onwindin 1
reasons for yourse'f.".
THE WOOING OF RILEY
THIS yere Riley ain't no novelty to Wolfville, an' him
an* his blanket mate, Four-bar Bob, has been some
frequent in the scenery for more'n a year. This
latter sport is older than Riley; an', since he's got a bunch
of cattle over by the Tres Hermanas marked with that
brand, we calls him 'Four-bar' Bob. He says he buys
the cattle; but thar's cause to suspect he ravishes 'em
from a passel of Mexicans down south of the line, an'
never pays a soo markee. Still, so long as they ain't
been cut out of the herds nor driven from ranges of no
Americano, sech surmises causes no excitement our side
of the nation J l boundary. Four-bar an' Riley, as a
method of livelihood, mootually works these yere Mexi
can cattle, with now an' then a week off as bronco busters,
breakin' bands of ponies for Enright an' the rest of us at
three dollars a head.
"Riley, personal, is a shallow feather-headed form of
yooth, an', while he's some given to noise an' licker,
most folks if you bars Black Jack likes him. Black
Jack is among the few who nurses aversions for Riley.
An' I must say Black Jack ha's his grievances, Riley
cherishin' a weakness for smashin' glasses on the floor
by way of roundin' off a drink.
"One day a party drives over from Tucson, introo-
ducin' a patent fire extinguisher, said contraption con-
sistin' of glass globes, about the size of cocanuts, filled
with flooids guaranteed to give a conflagration heart-
failure. Thar's a sign goes with 'em which reads, 'To be
used in case of fire!' as puttin' a casyooal an' oninstructed
public onto their virchoos, should any blaze break loose.
"Black Jack looks 'em over plenty thoughtful, an'
buys twelve. He fits 'em up in their wire rack on the
Red Light wall, an' changes the notice onder 'em to
"'To be used in case of Riley.'
"'Thar,' says Black Jack to Cherokee, who's con-
siderin' these yere preecautions; 'Enright won't let me
beef Riley, an' so I allows, if he ever shows up in this
s'loon ag'in, to chunk him up with these a lot.'
"When Riley learns of them Red Light prep'rations,
he's plumb hostile an' talks of paintin' up for war.
Enright an' Jack Moore, however, convinces him it
won't do none; an', since later they floor-manages a peace
between him an' Black Jack Riley promisin' to omit
glass-smashin' from his repertory them fire missils
never works their way into action.
"While folks likes Riley, his pard Four-bar Bob is
far from bein' a pop'lar idol. Not that he ever starts
anythin', but because he always looks as though he's
goin' to. He's one of them sour, dark, oncommoonica-
tive sports, whose atmosphere, as Peets calls it, is nacher-
ally repellant. I myse'f figgers thar's a streak of Injun
in Four-bar, in which eevent your not likin' him none
is explained. Cross-breeds that a-way is always vicious
THE WOOING OF RILEY
an* onsatisfactory, an' no gent of experience ever takes
his guns off while one's in sight.
"No, I'm enable to fathom what's wrong with cross
breeds; an' yet somehow some'ers they shore hides the
seeds of disaster in their constitootions. Sech puzzles
in hoomanity is plumb hard to savey, an' for myse'f I
only gets at it this yere fashion. Take a proper deck of
fifty-two kyards; a handful of gents'll play all night
with 'em, win an' lose their thousands, an' never no cloud
to rise in the sky. Let some sech element as a fifth ace
creep in, an' it's a stack of yellows to a white chip thar's
a killin'. It's the same with people. Some folks it
looks like is foaled with a fifth ace in their make-up
preedestines storm-centers from the jump!
"An' sech is Four-bar Bob. You-all could smell
trouble off him same as you smells a storm in its ap
proach; which is mighty likely why no one goes hankerin'
an' honin' for his s'ciety. That is no one except the
eboolient Riley; I must say Four-bar an' Riley gets along
together as comfortable as two peas in a pod. Mebby
Four-bar reelly likes Riley; even the most ornery is
obleeged to dote on somebody.
"Riley makes the front for himse'f an' Four-bar, what
times business commoonications is necessary between
Wolfville an' themselves. Four-bar hardly ever shows
up. Also, no one so far as I hears an' my y'ears is
some voloominous, not to say acoote as touchin' them
absences, lodges any complaints.
"Riley is one day meanderin' about, an* nothin' on
that vacant mind of his more'n livin' till tomorry.
Because he's over drinked a little, he feels excursive, an*
in his wanderin's breaks in on Sal, as she's puttin' a batch
of bloo shirts through a second suds. Riley plants him-
se'f on a upturned tub, an' surveys Sal sort o' lack-luster,
grinnin' meanwhile a p'intless eediotic grin. Sal in
return regyards Riley mighty severe, an' with mebby a
glint of inquiry in her bloo eye.
"'What for a j'int is this?' asks Riley after a while.
"Sal sees Riley no end of times, but yeretofore she
takes no notice of him. It's a big chance if Riley don't
blunder into her laundry that time, an* give her a chance
to look him over an* mebby get idees, all might yet be
well. But sech is fate; Riley goes pirootin' along in,
camps down on a tub, takes to makin' imbecile demands
an' playin' so to speak with fire.
" ' What for a j'int is this ? ' Sal repeats. ' Which it's
a laundry. An' onless you comports yourse'f plenty
genteel, you'll get a smoothin' iron at your head!'
"Nothin* more comes off; Riley an' Sal stares at one
another mootely for a space, after which Riley pulls
his fog-enveloped freight.
" But the thing don't end yere. Riley goes back; an'
goes back ag'in. In fact he keeps on goin' back con
stant for somethin' like two months. Meanwhile, Sal
takes to ironin* the buttons off everybody's shirts, an'
burnin' holes into them articles of apparel with flat-irons
doorin' fits of abstraction, an' Enright an' Peets puts
two an' two together an* decides she's in love. Not
that they appears overjoyed, the same bein' the only time.
"After two months of these yere attentions on Riley's
THE WOOING OF RILEY
part, things culminates; either him or Sal proposes, an*
Riley staggers forth an' informs the public he's engaged.
As sol'mnizin' that betrothal, he gets deeply an* dee-
"Texas Thompson is speshully worked up, an* asks
Riley is he actin' of his own free will.
' 'No!' cries Riley, sheddin' tears.
"'Then/ says Texas, 'don't you do it none. You
write her a letter pleadin' intox'cation, an* declar'in' all
bets off. An' mind, don't you go trackin' round in per
son none to say "good-by!" Which I'm fool enough to
do that once, an' I gets married before I leaves the house.
Take warnin' by me! Write your far'wells; it's what
post-offices is for.'
"Riley thanks Texas, an' allows he's too drunk to
write at that preecise moment, but'll seize on his first so
ber interval so to do.
"As near as we learns, Four-bar is of one mind with
Texas, an' opposes Riley's nuptials.
"An* why?' asks Riley, as Four-bar lectures him
on the eenorm'ty of him gettin' married that a-way.
"'Why?' retorts Four-bar, floppin' a flap-jack in the
fryin' pan, him cookin' supper at the time. 'Because,
for sech a rattlewitted fly-by-night as you-all to have a
wife is onnacheral.'
"'Now I don't look on it in that light,' says Riley.
'Which to me[ the scheme presents some fasc'natin'
"Four-bar an' Riley bickers all through supper; an'
then, findin' no progress is made, Four-bar beats Riley
over the head with the fryin' pan ontil he agrees he'll stay
"'Sw'ar!' says Four-bar.
"'I sw'ar!' says Riley 'I sw'ar to remain as single
as possible! I hopes to j'ine the Injuns if I don't!'
"Four-bar's hostil'ty to Riley becomin' a husband takes
sech shape the next day, that he brings that lover into
town, to tell Sal he's decided otherwise. The two keeps
their errand a heap secret; no one has the least guess.
The fact that Four-bar looks oncommon morose an' sour
means nothin', sech bein' his normal expressions. They
goes to the Red Light, subscribes for a few drinks, an' then
decides, as Texas advises that time, to write Sal a letter.
"Thar's a hitch, however; Riley can't only write a little
bit, an' Four-bar none whatever. They seeks to engage
Black Jack as a amanyooensis, but that careful barkeep
declines an the grounds of forgery. At last Riley allows
he'll go over to the post-office, win out some letter paper,
an* do the best he can.
"While Riley's engaged upon these yere cler'cal labors,
Four-bar continyoos to reefresh himse'f about the Red
Light. This is error; for the nosepaint reeacts on the
Injun in him, an' the next news he's in the saddle,
chargin' his pony up the street, whoopin' an' whirlin' his
gun on his finger.
"In a sperit of studied contoomely, Four-bar takes to
waltzin' his bronco all over the sidewalk. Enright, who's
in the New York Store, has his attention drawn to this
solecism out of the window.
"' Whoever is this party, Jack,' he asks Jack Moore,
THE WOOING OF RILEY
'who's thus rappin' his horns, an* stampin' an* pawin*
for trouble out yere on a hoss ? '
"'That's Riley Brooks' partner/ says Jack; 'it's Four-
"'Well, whoever it is/ says Enright, goin' back to his
purchases, ' I hopes you'll take steps to redooce his friv-
ol'ties to minimum. Which he's becomin' far too broad
cast that a- way.'
"By this time Four-bar's grown as mad as one of them
hydrophoby polecats. All the Apache in him comes to
the top. At sight of Jack he throws his pistol on him;
but Jack is thar with the drop, an' gets the first shot.
"The bullet goes through Four-bar's laiggin', an'
downs his pony.
"As the pony falls, it pins Four-bar to the ground.
He's game though; an' while every shot's a miss, he lets
loose all six loads as he lays thar. Jack himse'f is quite
as busy, an' much more ackerate, his fifth gettin' Four-
bar through the lungs.
"Which I never could shoot none with a pony on
my laig/ says Four-bar, an' a splash of blood on his
moustache sinks back dead.
"Riley, over in the post-office, hears the bombard
ment, swings onto his pony, an' comes a-runnin'. It's
all over when he gets thar; perceivin' which, he brings
his bronco 'round on its hind hoofs for a get-away.
Jest as Riley doubles the corner, Jack's last bullet splashes
on a silver dollar in his coat pocket. That's the final
shot; Riley digs in his spurs, hits a few high places in
the topography, an' is half way to the Tres Hermanas.
"Sal, who's over in her laundry, sees Riley an' Four-
bar as they rides in. When minute after minute goes by,
an' no Riley, she takes it so much to heart she burns
the bosom out of Peets* Tucson shirt. Which this yere
vestment is white; an' Peets wears it when he visits Tuc
son, so as to give them prairie dogs a proper est'mate of
whatever Wolfville is. It's a thing of the past now,
however rooinated complete!'
" Which the smoke of battle's hardly blown aside when
Sal, backed by Missis Rucker, brings Jack to bay.
"'You're a bright execyootive!' cries Missis Rucker,
in tones of fierce contempt. 'Whatever do you mean
by chasin' Sal's swain out o* town for ? '
' ' Yere I be,' says Sal, her eyes flashin' a heap om'n-
ous, 'an* never once sees my Riley for two days! Then,
when at last he does come driftin' in, you devotes your
eediotic energies to shootin' him all up. It'll jest be
my luck if he never does come back no more! Which
my pore heart tells he'll seize on your reedic'lous gun
play as pretexts for breakin' our engagement!'
"Between us, I never sees Jack so took aback! He
makes every effort to excoose himse'f.
"'Of course, Sal/ he says, 'you onderstands that what
I does I does offishul. An' yet I'm free to say con-
fessin' the same as a fault I gets that wropped up in
my dooties, I plumb forgets them cer'monies you plans
with Riley. Otherwise I'd have downed his pony with
that last cartridge, an' turned him over to you. But
perhaps it ain't too late.'
"Which you'd shore better say it ain't too late, Jack
THE WOOING OF RILEY
Moore!' says Missis Rucker. 'You go capture that
Riley boy now, or don't you ever come back! I cer
tainly never sees no sech spoil-sport since a yard of cloth
made a frock for me!'
"Enright comes up, an* seeks to console Sal. 'This
is plumb onforchoonate!' he says; 'but you knows
the aphorism, ladies: Troo love never runs smooth.
However, be of cheer! It's diamonds to dumplin's
Jack yere runs that recreeant lover down.'
"'Which I'll get him,' says Jack, mighty desp'rate,
'if he makes a trail as long as the wanderin' Jew!'
"Jack cinches a saddle onto a swift hoss, an* hits the
trail for the Tres Hermanas. Two days later he rides
back with Riley, tied hand an' foot, wrist an' fetlock,
on a lead pony. Riley's arm is broke, an' he's suffered
'"He goes scamperin' off like a jackrabbit,' explains
Jack. 'His pony, too, is some sudden for so little
a hoss; I chases him a mile before I'm clost enough
to alloode to my errand. At that he won't stop none; so,
bein' I'm in ropin' distance, I tosses the loop of my lariat
over him, an* yanks him back'ards out o' the saddle.
He hits the grass a little hard, I fears; an' it's fractured
him a trifle, an* mebby bruised an' abrated him some.
Still, thar's plenty of him left to marry.'
"'If you-all needs me,' says Riley, who's been listenin'
a heap impatient, 'what's the matter of sayin' so? But
no; you goes to ridin' an' ropin' an' ropin' an' ridin',
an' confoosin' me all up to sech extents, I nacherally
seeks safety in flight. This idee too, of lassooin' a party,
same's if he's a calf, is plumb onlegal; an' I'll gamble
on it! Gimme my guns!'
"'You'll get your guns,' says Jack, 'when you're a
married man, an' not ontil.'
"Which I more'n once observes that thar's nothin'
like bone-fractures an' gun-shot wounds to bring out
the sentimental in a gent. A couple of bullets, planted
proper, in the hooman frame, '11 set the patient to com-
posin' verses. Likewise, wounded gents is partial to
ladies speshul. It falls this way in the case of Riley, who
the moment he's hurt takes to Sal like a kitten to a hot
"An' Sal reeciprocates. As soon as ever Peets gets
the bridegroom spliced an' splinted together, Sal goes
bearin' him off to Tucson for the sacrifice.
"No, Riley don't make no objections, but lets on he's
"'Which wedlock tickles me to death!' he says.
"But somehow I don't know! If it does, he's shore
got a funny way of showin' it. Moreover, it looks like
Riley's new-found bliss about jolts his intellects off
their centers. He's certainly been draggin' his mental
lariat ever since them expousals, an' most of the time
a-steppin' on the rope. It's all mighty piteous an'
pathetic! The last time I sees pore Riley, he's drinkin'
plumb inord'nate; an' runnin' nose an' nose with Old
Monte, in efforts to determine that grand problem,
which so many has tackled an' none has solved, of how
to stay drunk an' reemain sober at one an' the same time."
THE COPPER HEAD
BACK in Tennessee," observed the old gentle
man, with an air of meditative retrospection,
"when in boyhood's happy hour I attends
services in them sanctchooaries that's scattered up an*
down my ancestral 'Possum Trot, I frequent hears the
preacher sharps refer to 'the cunnin' of the serpent.'
"As a child I allows that the same, with said pastors,
is a mere figger of pulpit speech; the more since what
serpents I scrapes pers'nal acquaintance with an*
I gen'ally scrapes it with a elm club proves plumb
doltish that a-way, an' thick. Them reptiles when tested
displays about as much cunnin' as Thompson's colt,
which animal is that besotted it swims a river to get
a drink. Later on, however, as I b'ars interested witness
to the wile an' guile of the Copper Head, as he salts
the Golden Roole felonious, an' depletes Bass Drum
Bowlby of forty thousand in cold dollars tharwith, I
recalls that phrase of them divines as something which,
if applied to the Copper Head, would shore have been
"The Copper Head preceeds Bass Drum into camp
by about a week. In trooth, he's adjourned to Red Dog
before ever Bass Drum shows up, an* ain't livin' none in
Wolfville at all. Not that he's so feeble-minded he
prefers Red Dog, only Cherokee Hall alarms him so he
don't dare stay.
"What rouses Cherokee is this: While not sayin'
nothin', the Copper Head is guilty one evening of a deal
of onnecessary starin' at Faro Nell, as that young priest
ess of fortune sets lookin' out Cherokee's play. Of a
sudden, at the close of a deal, Cherokee turns his box
up, an' briefly excooses himself he's onflaggin'ly p'lite,
that a-way to what gents is buckin' the game. He
crosses over to the Copper Head, planted by himse'f
down near the end of the bar.
"'You don't gamble none?' remarks Cherokee,
givin' the words a upflourish to show it's a question.
"'No/ replies the Copper Head; 'I'm averse irrev'c-
able to takin' chances/
"'Then/ returns Cherokee, mighty bitter, 'don't look
at that young lady none no more. Which in so doin',
whether you're wise to it or no, you're takin' the chances
of your life!'
"As Cherokee vouchsafes this admonition, an' by way
of urgin' it home on the wanderin' fack'lties of the
Copper Head, he cinches onto that serpent by the y'ear
the same bein' some wide-flung an' fan-like an' leads
him to the Red Light door. Once arrived at that egress,
Cherokee desmisses him outside by a foot in the small
of the back, said Copper Head flying through the air in
the shape of a hooman horse-shoe.
"'Now, don't return!' cautions Cherokee, as the
Copper Head, who lands all spraddled out in the dust of
THE COPPER HEAD
the street, picks himse'f up an' goes limpin' over to the O.
K. House; 'I've took a distaste ag'in you, an' the less
I sees of you the longer you're likely to last.'
"'That Copper Head,' says Boggs, as Cherokee gets
in back of his box ag'in, 'is ornery to the brink of bein'
odious; an' yet, Cherokee, I don't much reckon he's
starin' at Nell in a sperit of insult. My idee is he's
"'Mebby so,' returns Cherokee, some grim; 'we-all
wont argue that, Dan. Let me add, however, for the
illoom'nation of all concerned, that if eediocy's to be a
defence yereafter for crim'nal roodness, why then I'm
some eediotic myse'f on certain subjects. One of 'em
is Nell, as that Copper Head'll shore find out a heap,
should him and his red snake eyes take to transgressin'
"Snappin' the deck he's rifflin' into the deal box,
Cherokee addresses the circle about the lay-out:
"'Now, gents,' he says, his urbanity restored, 'when
your hands is off your stacks, we'll resoome the exercises
of the evenin'. Thar you be! Trey lose, nine win!'
"'Which in all my born days,' wails the Copper Head,
complainin' to Rucker of the voylent usage he receives
'which in all my born days thar's never a more onpro-
voked assault! Cats may look at kings!'
"'That cat-an'-king bluff,' returns Rucker, mighty
onsympathetic, 'may go in the far East, but it carries
no weight in Arizona, none whatever! Before you-all
insists round yere on lookin' at any kings, you better be
shore an* have, besides a workin' knowledge of the gent
who's holdin' 'em, somethin' vergin' onto a full hand
"No, nothin' comes of Cherokee's rebooke, the Copper
Head takin* it plumb moote an* quiescent, that a-way.
Snakes may be p'isen, an' frequent is, but thar ain't a
ounce of war in a wagonload. However, since early the
next mornin' the Cooper Head pulls his freight in favor
of Red Dog, I nacherally infers said eepisode to be the
"While the Copper Head done packs his blankets over
to Red Dog, an' tharfore the disgrace of his citizenship
belongs rightful to that collection of vulgarians, he's
most every day in Wolfville confabbin' with Rucker.
Not that they nourishes designs; Rucker, mental, bein'
no more'n a four spot, an' totally onfit for what the actor
person in the Bird Cage Op'ry House calls, 'treasons,
strategems an' spoils.' But the Copper Head is so much
like Misery, that he shore loves company; an', since no one
except Rucker'll stand for his s'ciety, he puts in a lot of
time hibernatin' round with that broken-sperited hus
band. As for Rucker himse'f, he's plumb willin'; for,
at bein' what you-all might call a social fav'rite, said
spouse of Missis Rucker's ain't got nothin' on the Copper
Head. Which any contest of onpopyoolar'ty between
'em would have been a stand-off, a plain case of hoss an'
"Some darkened sport says some'ers that thar's
nothin' in mere looks, in which utterances he's shootin'
plenty wild. The Copper Head is instanter the least
trusted an' most deespised party that ever comes rackin'
THE COPPER HEAD
into Wolfville; an' yet, if you backtracks for reasons, you
finds nothin' ag'in him at the go-off but his looks.
"For that matter, thar's nothing particular ag'in him
at the finish, his clean-up of Bass Drum for them forty
thousand, comin' onder the head of a private play,
wharin' the public ain't entitled to a look-in. Mines, like
roolette an' draw poker an' farobank, is a deevice to
which no gent is licensed to pull his cha'r up, onless
he's preepared pers'nal to protect himse'f plumb through.
If he gets handed a gold brick, thar's nothing' in the
sityooation which entitles him, for purposes of revenge or
retrobootion, to ring the body pol'tic in on the play.
This yere's Peets' doctrine; an', when it comes to a even
balancin' of right an' wrong, that scientist possesses the
wisdom of a tree full of owls.
"As I states, it's the looks of this Copper Head which
confers on him his low ratin' in the gen'ral esteem.
He's a thin, bony, scar-crow form of hoomanity, with
little red eyes like a ferret, y'ears of onbecoomin' lib'r-
ality, loose lip, wide onauthorized mouth, the whole
capped by a stubble of ha'r the hue of one of them liver-
colored bird dogs. His hands, too is long an' knobby,
an' has a cold, clammy feel when you takes hold of 'em
like the belly of a fish. Rucker allows that back East
the Copper Head's a sexton, an' digs graves; which may
or may not be the reason a damp, moldy, tomb-like smell
invests his physical bein' perpetyooal, an' wrops it round
like a atmosphere.
"As a further pop'lar set-back the Copper Head lets
on he's a party of exact morals. Never once askin' the
way to the nearest s'loon, the same bein' the yoosual in
quiry of emigrants, his first question after he hits the
outfit is 'Do we-all have a church?' It's on Texas
Thompson he presses his query concernin' meetin' houses,
an' when Texas replies some surly; 'No, but we've got a
grave yard/ meanin' Boot Hill, the Copper Head lapses
into silence, savin' what's left of his stock of inquisitive-
ness for the y'ears of Rucker.
"Aside from him bein' reepulsive, pers'nal, the Copper
Head conducts himse'f in a sneaky, onderground way;
an' he shows himse'f so he'pless intellectchooal, when put
up ag'inst what few prop'sitions the camp casyooally
submits to him to fix his caliber, that Boggs an' Tutt an'
Texas is all of one mind that he's a eediot.
"'Not witless enough to lock up, you onderstand,
explains Tutt, ' but onfit to hold commoonyon with folks
whose sombreros is of normal size.'
"'Don't get your chips down wrong, Dave,' warns
Peets, to whom Tutt's talkin'; 'that Copper Head's
not your kind, an' you simply fails to savey him. You
an' Dan an' Texas thar is one an' all the dog sort of man.
This Copper Head belongs to the snake tribe. Which
you couldn't count him up nor take his measure in a
thousand years! You can gamble that name of " Copper
Head," which Old Monte informs me he acquires in Tuc
son, aint no mis-cue in nomenclatchoor!'
" ' The Copper Head is loafin' about, listless an' onre-
gyarded, the same evenin' Bass Drum Bowlby blows in.
This latter gent is the preecise opposite to the Copper
Head, bein' so big an' broad an' thick he has to be prized
THE COPPER HEAD
out o' the stage, him measurin' wider than the door.
Also he's certainly the most resoundin' sport! Which his
conversation, when he's talkin', goes rollin' 'round the
town like peals of thunder; an' at supper, when he's
obleeged to ask for doughnuts the second time, seven
ponies boils out of the corral, an' goes stampedin* off
for the hills.
"'Say, pard,' he roars appealin'ly to Boggs, who settin'
next, "jest please pass them fried holes!'
"An* with that, them alarmed cayouses lines out for
cover in the Tres Hermanas, onder the impression
Wolfville's done gone crashin' to its eternal fall.
"While I wont say we-all sets up nights declarin'
our friendly admiration for Bass Drum none, still he's
a mighty sight more tol'rable than the Copper Head.
You-all could pass a hour in his company without feelin'
the hom'cidal instinct beginnin' to move in your bosom,
an' set you eetchin' to shed hooman life. For one
moll'fyin' matter, without bein' partic'larly inclined crim-
'nal, Bass Drum possesses vices s'fficient to keep a se'f
respectin' gent in countenance. He's a heap noisy an'
obvious, an' owns a metallic voice like one of these yere
Chinese dinner gongs; but he's sociable, an', when all's
in, his voice is jest the same a good-nachered voice.
Moreover, he's liable to change in a hundred dollar bill
at faro-bank, or fling a ten across the Red Light counter
as his subscription towards drinks for the house, in which
amiable respects he proves himse'f in symp'thy with his
day an' place. Also, as I observes, Bass Drum is 'ppre-
ciative of the virchoos of vice.
"Shore! The whitest gents I ever meets up with has
vices. For myse'f, so long as they keeps 'em out from
onder my feet, I finds no fault. What is it Cain remarks
after he bumps off Abel that time ? While I don't ap
plaud Cain none in that killin', the sentiment he fulm'n-
ates later secoores my yoonan'mous endorsements.
"No gent ought to over-look the great social trooism
that, rightly regyarded, a vice is nothin' but a virchoo
multiplied. A virchoo is like a cowcumber; it's no
good once it goes to seed. Which it then becomes a vice.
That's the straight goods; every vice is nothin' but some
virchoo over-played. Wharfore, when I crosses up with
a gent who's beset of vices that-a-way, I reflects to my
self thus-wise: 'Now this yere sport has virchoos; the
loose screw is he's got too plumb many an' too much!'
Lookin* at it from that angle, he's not only to be excoosed
"Whoever is this Bass Drum sport? All I knows is
that on a first occasion of his showin' up, he rolls into the
Red Light, lurches fat an* heavy up ag'in the counter,
"'My name's Bass Drum Bowlby, an' I invites every
gent to take a drink. Them who don't drink is welcome
to a dollar out of the drawer/
"Followin' the libation, Bass Drum goin' more into
details, makes himse'f heard ag'in. 'For two years,'
says he, 'I've been pirootin' 'round between the Rio
Colorado an' the Spanish Peaks. Which I'm shore
wedded to the West! Likewise, the reason I loves the
West is it's a fraud. That's whatever; thar ain't a play
THE COPPER HEAD .
comes off on the sundown side of the Missouri which
you-all can p'int to as bein' on the level! Thar ain't
a fact or a concloosion on the genyooinness of which
you could wager a white chip.'
"'Be you plumb certain ?' asks Jack Moore. 'Now
it's my belief that every gent in the room has got a car
tridge belt full of indespootable facts; an', if aColt's-45
aint a concloosion, I shore don't know what is.'
"'For heaven's sake!' exclaims Bass Drum, evincin'
concern, ' don't talk gun talk. My only thought is to pay
the West some compliments. I only says the West's
a fraud that a-way as offerin' encomiyums. Which I am
somewhat of a fraud myse'f ; an' I onhesitatin'ly informs
mankind that, at my fact'ry back East, I ain't doin' a
thing in a lowly way but makin' goose-ha'r mattrasses
out o* wood pulp not only makin' 'em gents, but sellin'
'em. Two years ago though, as I informs you-all
prior, I gets wedded to the West, an' never does go back
East no more. I simply stays yere, an' permits that
fraudyoolent wood-pulp, goose-ha'r mattrass fact'ry to
"'He talks/ growls Texas to Boggs, 'of bein' wedded
to the West: an' then evolves a howl that the West's a
fraud. Which he better try some reg'lar lady once ! '
'"May I ask,' puts in Enright, addressin' Bass Drum
plenty suave an' bland, 'whatever brings about them
'"It's in Vegas,' says Bass Drum; 'I'm jest in from the
East, an' headed for the Vegas Hot Springs. I piles
out of the kyars; a party, name unknown, throws me
into a hack. "Plaza Hotel," says I. Ten minutes
later we're at that car'vansary. "How much?" says I.
"Twenty plunks," says he. "Shake!" says I, as I
pays over the twenty bones. "This is where I stay.
A country in which you can make twenty dollars in ten
minutes is good enough for me!" An' so I goes roman-
cin* along in an' registers, meanwhile singin' "This yere's
the place I long have sought, an' mourned because I
found it not." Gents, I've been part of the West ever
"'An' prosperin' I reckons?' says Peets.
"'Not exactly prosperin',' returns Bass Drum, startin'
the nosepaint on a second trip; 'not altogether prosperin';
but learnin' a whole lot. Bein' the other day in Silver
City, I hears of this camp; an' the more I hears the better
it sounds. At last I allows I'll break in, look you-all
stingin* lizards over, an' mebby make investments.'
"'Investments?' remarks Enright; 'in cattle, do
"'Not cattle,' returns Bass Drum, wipin' his lips;
'which I gets fully through with cattle over back of San
Marcial towards the Black Range. You knows old
Axtell of the Triangle X? Bought a thousand head of
that old outlaw, thirty dollars per. He builds a chute,
drives up the thousand cows, runs 'em through, claps the
redhot iron on 'em, counter-brands 'em "C-in-a-box"
the new mark I invents. Thar they be gents, back on the
range ag'in; a thousand head of C-in-a-box cows, an'
that cimarron Axtell countiri' my little old thirty thou
sand simoleons ! Do I come forth onscathed ? Gents,
THE COPPER HEAD
listen! In two months I ain't got twenty head. That
C-in-a-box brand ain't nothin' but a ha'r brand; it all
grows out afresh, an' them cattle returns poco tiempo to
their old-time Triangle X form. Oh! you bet I'm
learning No more bovines for Bass Drum! This time
I aims to break my guileless teeth on mines. If thar's
any sport within hearin' of my loud bazoo, who's got a
salted mine, let him prepare for the feast. Yere I stands
in my ignorance, his nacheral born prey!'
"Sayin* which, Bass Drum beats his breast ontil it
booms, while his eyebrows work up an' down like one of
THE SALTING OF THE GOLDEN RULE
IT looks as though Bass Drum paves the way for his
own deestruction. The Copper Head, drawn by the
exyooberant an' far-reachin' tones of Bass Drum's,
is hoverin' about the portals of the Red Light at the time.
He don't come inside none, Cherokee bein' back of his
lay-out an' the Copper Head ownin' a mem'ry. Pres
ently he disappears; an', while his comin' and goin'
don't leave no profound impressions on me at the mo
ment, I thinks of it afterwards a whole lot.
"Bass Drum pervades the camp in an' out for sev'ral
days, an* so far as I hears gets proper action for what
dinero he puts in cirkyoolation. One evenin', when we're
wrastlin' our chuck at the O. K. House Rucker attendin'
on our wants as waiter Texas asks over his shoulder:
" ' Whar's that Copper Head compadre of yours, Rucker ?
I ain't seen him round none for four days ?'
"'Well/ snarls Rucker, who's testy an* spiteful on
account of him being redooced to a servile p'sition, 'you
don't reckon I kills an' eats him, does you?'
"'Don't wax gala, Rucker,' returns Texas, mighty
high an' cautionary, 'or the next time Doc Peets wants
a skeleton to play hoss with scientific, I'll shore preesent
him yours. You-all would furnish a fairly person'ble
THE SALTING OF THE GOLDEN RULE
skeleton that a- way; what ever do you yourse'f think,
"'He'll do/ says Peets, runnin' Rucker over kind o'
critical, like he's a hoss an' him, Peets, is goin' to buy him.
'To be shore, Rucker wouldn't afford no skeleton of
highest grade, not one of these yere top-notch corn-fed
skeletons; but he'd match in plumb successful between a
Mexican an' a Digger Injun, as completin' a chain.'
"'You-all asks about the Copper Head?' says
Rucker to Texas, a heap subdooed; for the way Texas an'
Peets goes bulgin' off about skeletons almost brings on
him a fit of the treemors. 'Which he's gone to minin'
over in Colorow Gulch. Thar's that prospect Chicken
Bill abandons; the Copper Head re-files on it as the
"Golden Roole," an' is deevelopin' the same.'
"'Whoever is this yere enterprisin' Copper Head?'
asks Bass Drum of Cherokee.
"'Which he's a bad-mannered miscreent,' returns
Cherokee, ' who if asked to set into a game of freeze-out
for two dollars worth of brains a corner, couldn't even
meet the ante.'
'"The more weak-witted,' says Bass Drum, 'the better;
less brains, more luck. It takes a eediot to find a mine.
Which I'll look this bullhead up some; if he's struck any
thing good I'll take it away from him.' Then, to Rucker,
who's staggerin' in from the kitchen with a passel of dry-
apple pies: 'How about this yere Golden Roole mine?
What for a prospect is it?'
"All I knows,' returns Rucker, 'is that the Copper
Head sends what he calls a "mill run" over to Silver City
for a assay, an* it shows eight hundred dollars to the
" * Whoever says sech things as that/ retorts Bass Drum,
'is conversin' through his sombrero. Thar ain't no sech
ore in Arizona/
"While I don't savey mines none, I'm plenty sapient
when it comes to men, an' I sees, for all his bluff front,
Bass Drum is a heap struck. The next mornin' he hires
Rucker of Missis Rucker, to show him where the Golden
Roole is located. It's over to'ards Red Dog in Colorow
Gulch, an' Rucker an' Bass Drum finds the Copper Head
idlin* about in the drift. He an' his Golden Roole
mine is a heap alone that a-way, an' never another
prospect within a half dozen miles.
"As Bass Drum an' Rucker draws near, they hears the
Copper Head singin' a church toone, that one about
'India's Golden Sands/
"'Is this onder-done party religious?' whispers Bass
"'Religious?' says Rucker. 'Which I only wishes
I has four bits for every pray'r he's flung off! I should
say he is religious! Thar's members of the clergy who
ain't ace-high to the Copper Head. But see yere/
continues Rucker, detainin' Bass Drum by the arm,
' don't you go sayin' nothin' about that assay. Mebby he
ain't ready to have it brooited abroad as yet/
"'Fear not!' returns Bass Drum; 'my little game don't
inclood me tellin' him things/
"Right yere, the onconscious Copper Head pours out
his soul afresh:
THE SALTING OF THE GOLDEN RULE
"'From Greenland's icy mountains,
To India's golden sands;
Where Africk's sunny fountains
Rolls down them coral strands.'
"'Which he's singin' all wrong!' whispers Bass Drum,
disgusted; 'that of itse'f shows his mem'ry to be wabbly
in its knees. Which if he can't think any better'n he can
sing, he'll be plumb easy! Religious, too, you says?
The shore mark of weakness! Look at me!' Yere
Bass Drum lapses into his pastime of thumpin' his bosom.
'Look at me an' wonder! six feet tall, an' a chest like a
hoss ! This Copper Head, bein' off his feet religious, shows
he's of a flimsy, clingin' vine-like nacher, an' no more back
bone to him than a wet lariat. A robust sport like me, who
knows his way through, plays tag with sech a weaklin'.'
"Bass Drum an' Rucker deecends on the Copper
Head, an* the Bass Drum says: 'How thar, pard!'
"The Copper Head gives a nervous start, an' looks
'round with his red ferretty eyes.
"'How!' says the Copper Head. Then, beholdin'
Rucker: 'Whatever be you-all doin',' he asks, 'so far
from your dooties ? You ain't had time none* glancing
at the sun 'to get your noon-day dishes washed.'
"Rucker at these slights grows some heated, but says
nothin', fearful what bluffs he makes gets back to Misses
Rucker. Bass Drum, however, relieves him by takin'
up the talk.
'"Struck somethin' rich?' he asks. 'Which if it's
good I'll buy it.'
"Friend,' returns the Copper Head, honest an'
deprecatory, an* runnin' his oncertain fingers through his
bird-dog ha'r, 'this yere's but a barren prospect, I fears;
I'm none convinced of its valyoo. It's not for me to
deloode the onwary, an' I shall avoid offers ontil I be.
That's why I names it the Golden Roole.'
"Thar's a queer greenish-yellow look to the gray face of
the rock, an' a sharp smell in the air that tickles the nos
trils like hartshorn. Bass Drum wrinkles up his nose
sympathetic, an' wipes the water from his eyes; to which
man'festations the Copper Head responds like they're
"'What you-all smells,' says he, 'is a prep 'ration for
softenin' the rock. It's somethin' like embalmin'
flooid; I gets onto it when I'm in the ondertaking line.
It's what gives the rock that green-yellow tinge. She
shore does soften it up a whole lot, however; the drillin'
and diggin' is redooced by half.'
"As the Copper Head gets off this yere explanation,
he oncovers a big glass bottle, holdin' about a gallon,
where it's lyin' hid beneath his coat. Thar's a rubber
stopper. The Copper Head picks up the bottle, an' hand
les it as if it's filled with centipedes an' each clamorous
for p'isenous action. Both Bass Drum an' Rucker
notice how it's half full of a liquid of a greenish-yellow
color, to match the pecooliar hue of the rock face.
"It's a heap vol'tile,' observes the Copper Head/ an' I
has to keep it tight corked. I spills out what I uses as I
"Sayin' which, the Copper Head slops out about a
pint into a glazed earthern dish, with the needfulness
THE SALTING OF THE GOLDEN RULE
of b'ilin' oil. Then he sops it up with a bresh, an*
paints away at the rock face same as though he's white-
washin' a fence.
"'An does that soften the rock?' asks Bass Drum,
sort o' held by the exhibition.
'" Leaves it like so much cheese!' returns the Copper
Head, white- washin' away mighty sedyoolous.
"'What's that embalmin' mixchoor composed of?'
asks Bass Drum ag'in, at the same time rubbin' his nose
an' eyes, the fumes growin' doubly acrid while the Copper
"'What's it composed of?' repeats the Copper Head.
Then he shets one eye, an' grins both feeble an' deerisive.
If it ain't for his liver-colored ha'r, you might think he's
a sheep trying to assoome a foxy look. 'Excoose me!'
he says, 'that's my little hold-out.'
"Bass Drum don't press the business of the embalmin'
flooid, but la'nches out into what he calls a 'train of
argyooment,' calk'lated to make cl'ar how he ain't got
time to wait the slow onfoldment of the Golden Roole.
The best he can say is he's jest now squanderin' round
on a hunt for a mine, an', if the Copper Head'll furnish
him what spec'mens he wants, he'll have a assay made
an' mebby buy.
"The Copper Head listens, his lank jaw ajar as if he
ain't got force of char'cter s'fficient to shet his mouth.
Bass Drum talks on, all sperit an' bustle an' business,
while the dazed Copper Head hangs back in the breechin',
like a dull mule at a quicksand crossin'.
'"I ain't ready none to deal,' the Copper Head protests
final. 'Sellin' a pig in a poke is as bad a buyin' a pig in
a poke. Yere I be, plumb ignorant whether I have
somethin' or nothin'; an' you-all comes bushwackin'
'round an' talks of buyin' me out.'
"'Not before a assay, onderstand,' returns Bass Drum.
' Most likely this yere rock ain't got no more gold into it
"'Well, I shore don't know!' returns Copper Head,
crackin' the j'ints of his knobby fingers ontil they sounds
like cockin' a Winchester. 'Whatever is your advice,
"Bass Drum winks his nigh eye at Rucker as sayin'
thar's somethin' in it for him, an' Rucker tharupon
yoonites his voice to Bass Drum's.
"'What harm,' he says, 'to let him get a assay?'
"With both of 'em ag'inst him, the reluctant Copper
Head at lasts consents. A blast is put in, an' fifty pounds
of spec'mens knocked off the rock face.
"Bass Drum prodooces a dozen buckskin pouches from
the warbags on his pony.
"'You observes,' he remarks to the Copper Head, 'I
"Bass Drum fills the buckskin pouches, ties 'em up
tight, an' swings 'em half an' half across the horn of his
saddle, the Copper Head eyein' proceeding with a
"I reckon it's all right,' he remarks, like he's tryin'
to convince himse'f. 'I lets a couple of mav'ricks from
Tucson have a hatful yesterday, an' tharfore why not
THE SALTING OF THE GOLDEN RULE
"Bass Drum pricks up his y'ears, smellin' rivals.
'Which I'll start these bags/ he says, 'for Silver City this
evenin'. Meanwhile, stand them Tucson hold-ups off.
If they're the sharps I thinks they be, they'll do you out o'
your eye teeth. Give 'em so much as a toe-hold any
where, an* they'll steal everything but the back fence.'
"That evenin', about sixth drink time, Bass Drum
grows confidential with Peets.
"'It's like playin' seven-up with a babe onweaned,'
he says. 'Still, it ain't as if this Copper Head is otherwise
safe. Which I don't mind confessing I'd shore hesitate
to lay him waste, only if I don't rob him some more
hardened party will.'
"'Don't his bein' religious,' asks Peets, 'sort o' op'rate
to stay your devastatin* hand? Or be your wars of
commerce waged equal ag'inst both believer and onbe-
"'At the game of dollar-chasin',' responds Bass Drum,
mighty cocky, ' believers or onbelievers, Jews or Gentiles,
it's all one to me. Whenever I gets ready to throw a
stone, you bet I ain't carin' wheether it hits a grog shop or
' ' To be shore,' observes Tutt, when later he's discussin'
matters with Peets an' Texas, 'I ain't no use for that
Copper Head; an* yet I asks myse'f be we jestified in per-
mittin' this over-powerin' Bass Drum to strip that fee-
bliest of his all?'
' ' Dave,' returns Peets, ' I regyards your excitement as
misplaced. If you has tears to shed, reeserve 'em for that
vain-glorious Bass Drum.'
"Three days, an' Bass Drum gets the returns from
Silver City. The fifty pounds of ore shows forty dollars
sixteen hundred dollars to the ton! Bass Drum's ha'r
assooms the perpendicular, he's that scared lest them
Tucson coyotes gets a prior move on, an* beats him
"As fast as pony can drum the ground, Bass Drum
goes surgin' over to Red Dog. The Copper Head hes
itates an' hangs back; he wants to hear from them Tucson
parties, he says, who gets the hatful of spec'mens. Bass
Drum won't hear to it, but crowds the Copper Head's
irresoloote hand, namin' two thousand dollars.
"An* at that,' observes Bass Drum when, a month
later, he's roofully recountin' his financial wounds to
Peets an* Enright that a- way, 'if I has a lick of sense, I
ought to have remembered that, with the eight hundred
dollar assay Rucker speaks of former, this Copper Head
must shore possess some half-way notion of where he's
at. But no; thar I go cavortin' to deestruction like a
bar'l down hill! Congratchoolatin' myse'f, too, on my
sooperhooman cunnin', when I evades his queries as to
how that last assay turns out ! Gents, I knows burros of
inferior standin', who in intellects could give me kyards
" When Bass Drum says two thousand, the Copper Head
falls into a brown study. The longer he studies, the
sadder an' more sorrowful he gets.
"'It's all wrong!' he says at last. 'I'll never yere-
after see the hour when the gnawin' tooth of conscience'll
be still!' An' yet, if I must sin, let it not be for no
THE SALTING OF THE GOLDEN RULE
bagatelles, which I'll shore refoose to sell my soul for a
paltry two thousand. Say forty thousand, an* doubtless
the temptation'll be more than I can b'ar.'
"Bass Drum sweats an' froths an' argues, but he's up
ag'inst it. The eediotic Copper Head, with the pertinac-
'ty of weakminded folks, holds by that forty thousand
like it's the rock of his last hope.
"'With forty thousand in my grasp,' says the Copper
Head, 'I returns East, re-enters the ondertakin' profes
sion, resoomes my rightful place on the front seat of a
hearse, an' lifts up my diminished head as of yore.
That's the rigger, forty thousand; an' not a nickle
"Thar's nothin' else to do; Bass Drum yields, an' him
an' the Copper Head goes over to Tucson, where he en
dows that red-ha'red reptile with eight five-thousand
dollar bills. Inside of no time, the Copper Head is a
thing of the Tucson- Wolfville past.
"It takes a fortnight for Bass Drum to convince him-
se'f thar ain't as much treasure to be extracted from the
Golden Roole, as should belong in the bank-roll behind
a ten cent game of Mexican monte. For a moment
he's hotter'n a fire in a lard fact'ry. Then he simmers
"'Gents,' says he, 'I'm stuck! That Golden Roole's
a deadfall! Between old Axtell an' his ha'r brands, an'
this yere Copper Head an' his salted mines, it'll take a
forest of sprooce, worked up into goose-ha'r mattrasses,
to reestore my fallen fortunes.'
"Salt a mine!' exclaims Enright. 'That egree-
gious Copper Head don't look like he's equal to sal tin 1
sheep! I shore marvels how he does it!'
"Pete Bland, the Red Dog boniface at whose flapjack
foundry the Copper Head's been hangin' out, brings over
a gallon bottle with a rubber stopper to Peets. He finds
it, he says, in the Copper Head's former room. It's
filled with the same greenish-yellow liquid, wharwith the
Copper Head is doctorin' the Golden Roole, when Bass
Drum an' Rucker surprises him at his labors. The
question is, can Peets as a scientific sharp identify the
"Peets oncorks the bottle, takes a sniff, an' bats a
"' Chlorine!' says he.
"Then he pours about a pint into a wide glass dish.
In half an hour or less, it's took to itse'f wings an' evap
"Thar's enough sediment remainin' to fill two table
spoons. Peets puts it into a bowl, an' fills the bowl up
with water. Then he twists an' tosses an' whirls an'
slops away at it, same as if he's pannin' out gold. That's
what it comes to; he cleans up enough dust to make a
ten-dollar gold piece.
" Bass Drum has already posted Peets how the Copper
Head white-washes away at the rock face, an' Peets gets
a bresh and tries a quart of the embalmin' flooid on a
round hard rock, the size of a water melon, which is lyin'
in front of the New York Store. The results is highly
gratifyin'; the stone sucks up that embalmin' flooid
like it's a sponge, thirstily gettin' away with the entire
THE SALTING OF THE GOLDEN RULE
quart. Also it turns that same good old greenish-yellow
"When the stone has done drunk up its quart, Peets
regyards it plenty thoughtful.
"'By what that pint pans out/ he says, 'thar should be
twenty dollars worth of gold in this yere dornick!'
"Which the subsequent assay proves said surmise to
"Thar's mebby a pint remainin* of the embalmin'
flooid, an' Peets cuts loose chem'cal, an' subjects it to
"'An' at that, Sam,' says Peets to Enright at the wind-
up, 'I can't say what it wholly is! Thar's this, however:
It contains, among other things, chloric acid with king's
water, which last is a comb'nation of sulphooric an'
nitric acids. The proportion of ox'gyn, thus secoored,
is so tremenjus it makes no more of eatin' up forty dollars
worth of gold to the gallon, than a colored camp meetin'
would of eatin' up forty yellow-laigged chickens. Also,
it's so penetratin' it'll carry the gold through eighteen
inches of solid rock. Gents, we've been entertainin'
a angel onawares. That Copper Head person is a genius;
he has raised mine-saltin' to the plane of art.'
"It's two years before we ag'in hears of the Copper
Head. A waif-word wanders up from Rincon that some
deservin' party opens on him, low and satisfact'ry, with
a ten guage Greener shot gun, twenty-one buckshot to
the shell, an' bombards him into the heavenly land of
many mansions, where the come-ons cease from troub-
lin' an' the mine-salter is at rest. The vig'lance commit-
tee, which considers the case, sustains the action of
Cherokee that time in eejectin' the Copper Head from
the Red Light; since it exculpates the accoosed shot-gun
gent, on the grounds that the Copper Head is lookin*
at his wife."
THE WISDOM OF DOC PEETS
MOST likely," observed the old gentleman, spear
ing at me with his pipe-stem to invoke at
tention, "you never is aware of it none,
but the thing that wearies the West as a region
plumb to death, is the onlicensed air of patronage an*
high conceit adopted towards it by the East. Which it's
this yere, ondoubted, that eggs us on, when we plays it
so low down on Professor De Puff it sends that phree-
nol'gist, scamperin' an* skallyhootin' into Tucson all
spraddled out, eyes protroodin' like the horns on a year-
lin' bull which you could knock 'em off with a club to
go pantin' forth a white-faced tale of how Wolfville's
done been abolished in consoomin' flames an' smoke.
"For myse'f, I always attribyootes this yere Eastern
conceit to ignorance that a- way, a attitood wharin I'm
sustained by Doc Peets.
"'The yawnin' peril to this nation,' says Peets, as
we're loiterin' over our drinks one Red Light evenin',
'is the ignorance of the East. Thar's folks back thar,
speshully in Noo York, who with their oninstructed backs
to the settin' sun, don't even know thar is a West. Like
wise, they're proud as peacocks of their want of knowl
edge. They'd feel plenty ashamed to be caught knowin'
anything on the Rocky Mountain side of the Hudson
"Is Peets deep? Son, you astounds me! Solomon
could have made the killin' of his c'rreer by simply goin'
to school to Peets. That scientist is equal to everything
except the impossible. An' when it comes to philosophic
deeductions that a-way, you're jestified in spreadin' your
big bets on whatever Peets hands out.
"As sheddin' a ray, let me step one side of the direct
trail of this yere narrative to tell you what Peets does.
He actchooally reyoonites Tucson Jennie an' Soap Suds
Sal in bonds of amity, the time they falls out an' gets
their mootual horns locked walks right up to them
contendin' ladies, Peets does, an' reasons with 'em, at
a moment too when the gamest gent in camp don't dare
go near enough to one of 'em to hand her a diamond ring!
"It's this a-way: Soap Suds Sal, as I relates, weds
Riley Brooks. Bein' thus moved up into p'sition as a
married lady affects Sal; she feels the change, an' takes
to puttin' on dog immod'rate. This yere haughtiness
provokes Tucson Jennie, who's a wife of sev'ral years
standin', an' nacherally she goes to the floor with Sal.
Of course, you onderstands I means verbal thar's nothin'
so onladylike as physical voylence.
"Peets happens to be across in Red Dog, but Enright
dispatches Boggs to tell him to come a-runnin'. He
looks a trifle doobious, I admits, when he hears.
"'Does either of 'em call the other "ugly" Nell?'
he asks some anxious of Faro Nell, who's been hoverin'
over the fracas throughout.
THE WISDOM OF DOC PEETS
"'Oh no,' says Nell; 'they don't say nothin' about
"'Or "old"?' goes on Peets.
"'No,' returns Nell, 'they ain't got to ages none as yet,
but Sal's workin' herse'f up to it.'
"Peets heaves a sigh of relief. 'It's all right, gents,'
he says, sort o' cl'arin' up; 'I thinks I sees my way
through to bring 'em together ag'in in peace an*
"Which Peets does; Missis Rucker an' Faro Nell
backin' the play with handkerchiefs, to pass Sal an'
Tucson Jennie when they bursts into tears.
'"Whatever's the matter of the East, Doc?' asks
Boggs that evenin' in the Red Light. ' Why should it turn
its fool back on us ? '
'"The cause, Dan,' says Peets, 'lies deep in the heart
of things. The big trouble with the East is it's not only
ignorant, like I says, but ignorant in a pin-head way of
se'f importance. It'll prance forth an' look the West
over, towerist fashion, through the distortin' medium
of a Pullman kyar window, an' go back bent double
onder the idee it's got the Western picture from foretop to
fetlock. Also, it never seems to enter its egreegeous
head none that, while it's been lookin' the West over, it's
been a heap looked over by the West. The East, mental,
is onequal to graspin' the great trooth that once you've
come clost enough to see a party, you've come clost
enough to be seen, an' that about the time you gets onto
some deefect in another gent, he's spotted a imperfec
tion or two in you.'
"'All of which/ interjects Boggs, mighty satisfied,
'is plumb loocid an* convincinV
"'The East runs all the resk in this/ goes on Peets,
measurin' out his little old forty drops. 'Nacher de
mands a equilibrium. To be ignorant, that a-way, is
to be in danger; to let folks know more about you than
you knows about them, is a step towards bein' enslaved.
Shore; people ain't sent to jail half so much for what
they do as for what they don't know. To keep yourse'f
plenty posted is the price of liberty.'
"'That's whatever!' coincides Boggs, who's as faithful
to all Peets says as a younger brother.
"'Moreover, Dan/ concloodes Peets, 'never make
the Eastern mistake of imaginin' you've got the only
kodak on the lawn. While the East is snappin' the West,
the West is capturin' the East for onlimited plates, the
merest glimpses of which would send that besotted corner
of the yooniverse tumblin' from its perch. Likewise,
it would tharafter roost a mighty sight nearer the ground.'
"This yere Professor De Puff is a case in Eastern
p'int. Enright an* Peets is both away from camp when
he drifts in; Peets has gone romancin' over to Prescott,
while Enright 's trackin' 'round up to'ards Albuquerqui
about a cattle deal. Which the commoonal scare 'ty
of them gents is jest as well; mighty likely, if present,
they deeplores the way we wrings amoosement from that
phreenol'gist, an' wet-blankets the play.
"It's at supper in the O. K. Restauraw that the Pro
fessor begins to reap the benefit of our s'ciety. We-all
scouts him up an' down out of the corners of our eyes, an'
THE WISDOM OF DOC PEETS
I must say his looks is ag'in him. He's got a head like a
melon, an* tilts his soopercilious nose as though he smells
a orchard. Also, his expression's as sour an' sodden an*
cold as a clay farm in the month of March. It's cl'ar,
too, he regyards us as mere four-laigged beasts of the
field, whose meeger stock of information is confined to
the knowledge that we're alive.
"While Rucker is slammin* viands onto the table
Missis Rucker redooces Rucker to the ignoble status of a
waiter, after she recovers him back from the Apaches
that time the Professor's glance goes rovin', some
lofty, from one to the other of us, his manner bespeakin*
disdain. Final, he sort o' culm'nates on Old Monte,
who's down by the end of the table with Boggs.
"' You're married?' says he, by way of breakin'
ground for a talk, p'intin' meanwhile at Old Monte with
a three-tine fork.
"'Married?' returns Old Monte, gettin' sort o' sore.
" That's the substance of my remark/ observes the
"Well, you go bet the limit, sport,' says Old Monte,
harpoonin' a slice of ham plenty dexterous, 'that any
story you hears about me bein' married is exaggerated.'
"Thar's no tellin' what the Professor is aimin' at in
them observations, Texas Thompson breakin' in with a
interruption. Texas is camped next to the Professor.
Also the milk, that Missis Rucker is lavishin' on us, is
of the condensed vari'ty. Which strange as it may
break on tenderfoot y'ears, the three sparse things in a
cow country is butter, beef an' milk that is, shore-
enough milk. Of this yere stringy, condensed, patent-
office kind, thar's plenty an' to spar*.
"In the present instance, from the suspicious way the
Professor dallies with that invention, it's plain he's
never before been put up ag'inst condensed milk.
Thar's a band of burros, with bed-slat ribs an' all
mighty onkempt, vis'ble out of the open window, the
same belongin' to a Greaser who's brought Missis
Rucker a lay-out of mesquite roots for her stove. Texas
takes advantage of this. He tastes the milk kind o'
resentful, an' then p'intedly surveys the band of burros.
At last, like his mind's made up, he leans across to Cher
okee, an* says some fierce:
"'The management of this yere hash j'int is either
goin' to feed them burros more nootritious food, or I'll
shore inaug'rate a S'ciety for the Preevention of Crooelty
to Boarders. This yere milk is onfit for hooman con
sumption; it tastes prickly, like it's full of cactus thorns.'
"'Oh I don't know/ responds Cherokee, in his p'lite
way. * Which this milk seems good to me. Anyhow,
you can't tell nothin' by them burros' exterior.'
"Texas keeps on tastin' an' grumblin', an' allowin'
thar's somethin* off-color about that milk.
"'Does it hit you right, pard?' he asks at last, comin'
round on the Professor; 'you bein' direct from the East,
your palate's not so benumbed an' coarse as ours.'
"While Texas is sizin' up them burros, an' carryin*
on so plumb bilious about the milk, the Professor's eyes
is beginin' to roll oneasy; he's gettin' pale as a candle,
an' shows faded about the corners of his mouth.
THE WISDOM OF DOC PEETS
" As Texas tenders the condensed milk, he starts back
as. horrified as if it's a trant'ler.
"'Me?' he exclaims givin' a shudderin' glance at the
frowsy, bed-slat burros. ' I never assimilates so much as
a drop of that lacteel flooid!' Then he sighs an' shud
ders some more, all plenty reepugnant, an* says doleful:
'This is a wretched reepast!'
"'Wretched!' yells Boggs, from down at the end;
'wretched! What miscreent allows this yere reepast is
wretched? As a day-in-an'-day-out guest at this car'-
vansary, I demands he be p'inted out/
" ' No offence is designed, sir/ says the Professor some
shook, Boggs bein' that big an' vehement; 'an' I appeals
to you, as a onbiased gent, if I'm jestified in all honesty
in namin' this a best reepast/
"'Well/ replies Boggs, lettin' on he's strugglin' to
hold himse'f down, 'I don't want to crowd no sport in
deefiance of his conscience. Let me put a question;
meanwhile, warnin' you-all that in so doin' I'm taxin'
my sens'bilities to the utmost. Assoomin' as you says'
yere Boggs leans his elbows on the table, an' gazes at
the Professor plumb sinister 'that the bounties now
freightin' this yere board comprises a wretched reepast,
I asks in all forbearance be you willin' to confess it's still
the best wretched reepast you ever tackles?'
" ' Yes/ replies the Professor after a pause, an' speakin'
slow an' worried; 'I thinks I may adopt your verbiage,
an' deescribe it as the best wretched reepast of which I
"Boggs he'ps himse'f to some can tomatters like he's
satisfied, while the Professor softly shoves his cha'r back
an* withdraws. Later, I sees him t'arin' into smoked
herrin's an' crackers in the New York Store.
"It's Missis Rucker who onfolds to us how the Pro
fessor's goin' to give a lecture on phreenol'gy.
"'He's monstrous sagacious, that a-way,' says Missis
Rucker, 'an' can lay b'ar any individyooal's past, pres
ent or footure by simply feelin' his bumps a whole lot.
I believes it, too, for I recalls hearin' Doc Peets say thar's
a heap in phreenorgy. I reckons I'll have him thumb
Rucker's head some. My husband's always been a
puzzle to me, an' yere's a chance to solve the myst'ry of
"'Then we may expect you at the exercises this
evenin'?' remarks Boggs, lookin' disapp'inted.
" ' No,' says Missis Rucker, ' I regrets I can't come none.
Little Enright Peets has done been took with the measles,
an' Jen invites me an' Nell yere to come over after supper,
for comfort an' consultations. I'll ask Dave Tutt to
take Rucker, an' ride herd on him while the Professor
makes a round-up of his bumps. He'll write out what
he finds on a chart, so yereafter I has it ever handy when
Rucker deevelopes a new kink.'"
THE LECTURE IN THE LADY GAY
THIS all happens way back in the earlier hours of
the camp, when Wolfville's in its swaddlin' clothes.
The Professor, spyin' about for a hall, pitches on
what's left of the old Lady Gay S'loon. Which said
structchoor is that edifice of barn-boards an' sixteen-
ounce tent-cloth our long-ago Colonel slams up, when
he opens shop alongside Hamilton's dance hall, an'
meanly seeks to maverick the latter gent's toones, an'
pull off fandangoes to the stolen strains of his fiddles.
As you remembers, that pestif'rous Colonel economist
don't last; an', when the Professor shows up, thar's his
empty sheebang preecisely like he leaves it. Bein' a
money-savin' soul, an' seein' he gets the Lady Gay for
nothin', the Professor announces he'll lecture what he
calls 'Give a Readin" tharin. The excitement is
schedyooled for second drink time in the evenin*.
" By behests of Missis Rucker, delivered before her an'
Faro Nell lines out to see about them measles little En-
right Peets is sufferin' with, Rucker packs in a table an'
all the cha'rs from the O. K. House, by way of fittin' up
the Lady Gay for the Professor. The table's up front,
with a karosene lamp an' a skull, the skull constitootin'
part of the Professor's reg'lar lay-out. Thar's four
other karosene lamps about the walls which gives plenty
of light, an* all a heap sumptuous.
" Jack Moore, who in the absence of Enright an* Peets
puts it up he'll preeside by virchoo of his office as kettle
tender, takes a seat at the table with the Professor.
Bein' seated, he scowls about in a forbiddin' way, an'
reequests order to prevail.
"'You murderers set plumb quiet now/ says Jack,
layin' his two guns on the table with a deal of clatter,
'or I'll mow you down in red an' smokin' swaths. Mean
while, let me introdooce to your fav'rable notice one
whose name as scientist, savant an' gent, by every fireside
between the oceans, is a household word. I need
skurcely say I alloodes to the lecturer of the evenin', the
cel'brated Professor De Bluff.'
"'Not Bluff,' whispers the Professor mighty piteous;
"Shore! I begs pardon,' says Jack; 'Puff of course.'
Then to us out in the cha'rs : ' I gets my stack down wrong,
gents; allow me to present Professor De Puff. His
lecture is to be on "Heads, an' Heads in Gen'ral," the
same 'llustrated by a public readin' of the bumps of
"The Professor gazes askance at Jack's guns, an'
rises to his feet. 'I was promised,' he says, 'a subject
for this evenin's exper'ment a Mister Rucker. May
I ask is thar a Mister Rucker with us?'
"'Yere's your victim,' says Tutt, shovin' Rucker to
the front by the scruff of his neck, Rucker twistin' an'
turnin' like a mortified bobcat tryin' to get at Tutt.
THE LECTURE IN THE LADY GAY
'Thar's the abandoned wretch!' goes on Tutt, flingin'
Rucker into a seat like he's a bag of bran. 'Paw the
old profligate over, an' give a waitin' public the
"The Professor puts a good face on it, though he's
appalled by Tutt's voylence. He steps to the end of the
table where Rucker's been planted, an' is organizin' to
begin when Boggs climbs to his feet.
" ' Mister Cha'rman,' says Boggs, * prior to this learned
shorthorn soilin' his fingers on the head of that low-
down spec'men of the peasantry which Mister Tutt has
jest drug up, I'd like him to give me the troo inwardness
of a bump of onyoosual magnitoode, which I myse'f
"'Speakin' personal,' returns Jack, *I certainly offers
no objections. Which if Professor De Snuff I asks
your forb'arance, I should say Puff is willin' to waste
his time on sech felons as you, he may do so. Only'
yere Jack p'ints his finger at Boggs plenty om'nous
* don't onbelt in any rannikaboo breaks. You knows
my offishul motto: "Corpses is models of quietood an'
good order." 3
"Upon Boggs' approachin' the table, the Professor
who's been set breathin' rather quick by Jack's fulm'n-
ations, allows he's plumb willin' to consider Boggs'
case. The day before, in comin' over a swell at a hand-
gallop, Boggs' pony gets it's laig in a badger hole, an'
it an' Boggs goes rollin' down hill all tangled up. In
scramblin' to its four hoofs, the pony raps Boggs on the
top of the head some emphatic with its knee, an' leaves
a lump the size of a lemon. Which it's this yere excres
cence Boggs submits to the Professor.
"'Cut loose/ says Boggs, 'an* give this yere enlight
ened gatherin' the froots of your manipyoolations.'
"'That's the bump of firmness/ says the Professor,
fingerin' away at Boggs' head. 'You're as immov'ble
as the everlastin' hills ! The deevelopment is wonderful ! '
"'Firmness!' says Boggs. 'Immov'ble! Well I
should say as much! Gibralter's on wheels to me!
Likewise, let me offer congratchoolations, Professor,
on your perspicac'ty. That swellin', which you reads
like a printed page in one whirl of the wheel, baffles an'
sets at naught the best intellecks of two hem'spheres.'
"Boggs grasps the Professor's hand, who yields the
same reluctant, an* is preparin* to say more when
Cherokee speaks up from the audience.
'"Mister Pres'dent/ he says, 'I shore trusts you'll dis
miss, to his proper seat, that drunken boor with the
swellin' on his head, an* forbid him to annoy this assem
blage no further.'
"Boggs whirls on Cherokee like a insulted grizzly,
but before he can make a reply, Jack comes down on
him with a cocked Colt's-45.
"'That'll do/ says Jack. 'Another yelp, an' I'll
blow your light out! Don't forget that the day so far
has proved for me a barren one; I ain't beefed no one
none as yet.'
"As Boggs retires in silence to his seat, Jack lays down
his weepon ag'in, an* waves his hand towards the Pro
THE LECTURE IN THE LADY GAY
"' Professor De Guff I means Puff will now pro
ceed with the deal/ he says. Then to the Professor:
'Get busy with that old mule-thief's cocoanut before
these yere outlaws makes another start. If possible,
I'd shore admire to go through the evenin' without
bumpin' somebody off.'
1 ' Mister Cha'rman an' gents,' says the Professor, restin'
one hand aff'bly on Rucker's shoulder. 'I wish I could
also add "ladies;" but sech is out of the question, since
none of the gentler sex is with us this evenin/ havin*
been called as ministerin' angels to the pillow of infantile
sickness. However, as I was sayin' : Mister Pres'dent an'
gents, phreenoPgy, of which I may say I'm a loominous
exponent, receives its earlier impulse as a science onder
the astoote auspices of a philos'pher named Fowler.
Perhaps I can best demonstrates the poss'bilities of
phreenol'gy by proceedin' without further delays to a
examination of the craniyum of Mister Rucker, who's
been contreebooted for that purpose by his esteemable
"Yere the Professor plays over Rucker's head with
his fingers, the same as if it's a keyboard of a piano.
At last he looks up, confident an' cheerful, an' says:
( ' Correct me if I'm wrong, gents. My investigations
pronounces this yere craniyum to be that of a congen'tal
crim'nal intensified by drink.'
"'Who you callin' a crim'nal?' demands Rucker in
'"Now don't you go to runnin' any blazers!' breaks
in Jack, addressin' Rucker an* reachin' for his six-
shooters. ' Who's he callin' a criminal? Which he's
callin' you a crim'nal; an', considerin' how you steals
them mules up by Fort Union, I holds it's a mighty
"'But I never steals no private mules,' protests pore
Rucker. 'Them mules is gov'ment mules; I gets 'em
off a ambyoolance four of 'em.'
'"None the less,' says Jack, 'speakin' technicle it's
crim'nal. Professor De Muff's, excoose me, Puff's
entirely ackerate in his employment of terms. Roll
your game, Professor. Don't mind the subject; he's
locoed an' never has no sense no how.'
"Rucker glowers at Jack, but don't say nothin', an'
the Professor resoomes his discourse.
"As I was sayin',' observes the Professor; 'thisyere's
the head of a born crim'nal intens'fied by drink, an'
the words is hardly out of my mouth when they receives
flatterin' corrob'ration, an' it's shown how this onmiti-
gated bandit purloins a quartette of mules.'
"'Mister Cha'rman,' breaks in Texas, 'I rises to a
question of priv'lege. Which if this yere jacklaig
phreenol'gist is goin' to give evidence of any mule
larcenies, I demands he be sworn. Low an' onworthy
as Rucker is, he all the same has got his rights.'
"'An' I gives notice right yere,' shouts Tutt, leapin'
to his feet an' makin' a lunge to get at Texas, the same
bein' frustrated by Cherokee who holds him back, 'that
I pays my four-bits at the door to hear the lukyoobrations
of this bump-sharp; an' I don't propose bein' swindled
out of 'em by no noisy an' resoundin' four-flush from
THE LECTURE IN THE LADY GAY
Texas. Cherokee, let me go! Which nothin' but his
heart'll do me now!'
"'Set down! both of you tarrapins!' roars Jack.
' Be you seekin' to coerce me into sheddin' blood ? Set
down, or I'll fill you both as full of lead as Joplin an'
Galena! Which I won't tell you ag'in! Professor
De Stuff, or Puff, or Muff, or whatever his brand is, '11
have a fine story to carry East about the manners of
this camp! A passel of Digger Injuns is Chesterfields
to you prairie dogs!'
"This yere last outburst between Tutt an' Texas so
discourages the Professor he allows he reckons he'll pack
" 'It seems imposs'ble to go on!' he says, 'an' we every
moment on the verge of spillin' hooman life. Which
we're as ones balanced on the brink of a precipice drippin'
gore! Wharf ore, I thinks I'll end my lecture before
murder ensoos. Shorely, it's better thus.'
"'I thinks not!' returns Jack, grim an' prompt. 'If
you-all figgers, Professor, this outfit's that soopine as to
let you announce a phreenol'gy lecture, win out four-bits
per capitty at the door, ondertake a readin' of Rucker's
head, an' then, when you've got the old ruffian half ex
pounded, that a-way, an' our cur'osity keyed to concert
pitch, fold up your layout an' pull your freight,, your
estimates of us is erroneous to the frontiers of the false.
Thar's folks gone to the windmill with a lariat round
their necks for less ! '
"Onderstand!' hastily exclaims the Professor, agit
ated plumb through by Jack's long speech, the same
bein' reeled off with amazin' sperit ' onderstand, gents,
it all rests with you! If it's the general voice, I'll be only
too proud to proceed.'
"'You're all right, Professor,' speaks up Boggs by
way of encouragements. ' Don't let these yere bloviatin'
groundlin's buffalo you a little bit. They ain't any of
'em killed more'n ten, nor skelped more'n six. Go on
an' toot your horn. Which I'm with you to the death!'
"After a spell, the Professor gets his nerves ca'med
down, an' cl'ars his throat for a fresh start. Runnin'
his hand over the r'ar of Rucker's head, he remarks:
'Which we come now to philoprogin'tiveness. In that
interestin* connection, I can best expound what I de
sires by tellin' a story. It's back in Topeka in the
commonwealth of Kansas, an' I'm examinin' the cranial
deevelopments of a Osage Injun, who's been lured to the
evenin's readin's by a one dollar bill. I ought to impart
to you-alls that, onder the beenign inflooences of a higher
edjoocation, I not only onfolds as a phreenol'gist but
blossoms, speritchooal, to sech heights I becomes a
foremost figger among the age's philanthropists, an' a
firm believer in the yooniversal brotherhood of man.
By the light of this explanation, you perceives without
puttin' me to the blushin' immodesty of statin' the fact
in person, that I deetects no difference in races, but treats
a Injun exackly the same as if he's a white man.'
"'Hold on!' says Tutt, 'Mister Cha'rman, I cannot let
sech sent'ments pass. Lest what the learned sport jest
utters has mal-effects on the younger elements of this
gatherin', I rises to say that treatin* a Injun as if he's a
THE LECTURE IN THE LADY GAY
white man is like treatin' a coyote as if he's a collie dog.
Beautiful as a abstraction, it cannot be applied to a
"'As mod'rator of this meetin',' observes Jack, beatin'
on the table with one of his guns same as he's seen En-
right, 'if I don't exert the full majesty of my p'sition,
to put the kybosh on the gent who's jest broke loose, it's
because I agrees heart an' soul with his remarks. Which
Injuns is shore p'isen; an' every right-thinkin' husband,
brother, son an' father'll employ his leesure in downin'
all he can. Havin' deefmed myse'f, an' added the mite
of my pore endorsements to the test'mony of Mister Tutt,
we will now rack along with the play. Professor De
"'Puff, sir, Puff if you please!' interrupts the Pro
fessor in pleadin' tones.
" ' Didn't I say " Puff ? " ' asks Jack. ' I shore intends
to. However on with the dance, let joy be onconfined.
You was speakin' about that Topeka savage, Professor.'
"'Thar's present on the stage with me,' re-begins the
Professor, 'a em'nent Creole from Noo Orleans.'
"Cree-owl!' repeats Boggs. 'In order that I grasps
this harangue in its utmost as we goes sashayin' along,
let me inquire if cree-owls is same as squinch owls ? '
"What barb'rous onenlightenment!' exclaims Texas,
in onmeasured scorn. ' Man, a Creole ain't no fowl, it's a
animal. I ketches one alive once, an' is raisin' it as a
pet; but I has to kill it, the neighbors claimin' it keeps
'em awake nights with its howls.'
"Go on!' says Jack, grindin' his teeth an' bendin' a
malignant eye on Boggs an* Texas, 'go on with your
pesterin'! I sees it comin'! You'll weary me to where
I'll massacre you both, or I'm a Si wash!'
"Thar's no tellin' where Boggs an' Texas'll wind up,
if Rucker don't cut in. Scowlin' up at the Professor,
"You-all uses language about me to-night I don't
take from no one but my wife. Whatever do you mean
by denouncin' me as a congen'tal crim'nal?'
"'Softly, friend!' replies the Professor; 'before I'm
through, it's my pious purpose to show you how to purify
your nacher an* make it white as snow. It's but to
prostrate yourse'f at the throne. Hope on! The
mercy of heaven is infinite; it forgives the thief on the
cross ! '
'"Which you're certainly a compl'mentary galoot!'
says Rucker in high dudgeon; 'an', so soon as ever I
escapes from yere, I'll give you a argyooment you'll
despise. No sech limber-jim as you is goin' to go on
aspersin' me like this, an' live.'
"'Come, Professor,' urges Jack, 'get this yere homily
dealt down to the turn. I've app'inted myse'f to onbend
in some slaughterin' when you're finished, an' I lusts to
commence.' Then, to the audience: 'Gents, let me
labor with you-all for decency an' order. Sev'ral of you
is nearin' death, an' it'll be more seemly if you preserves
some appearance of dignity doorin' your last moments on
y 'earth. Professor De Scruff what do I say! Puff
will now onbuckle for the wind-up.'
"'Well,' observes the Professor, drawin' a harassed
THE LECTURE IN THE LADY GAY
breath, ' as I turns to the Creole, a person whose name is
"'I'm shore sorry to interfere,' remarks Cherokee, as
suave as a dancin' master, 'but I fails to gather in that
last. What did you say, Professor, is the name of the
"'I says his name is onimportant/ observes the Pro
fessor, plumb desp'rate.
"'I knows a party,' vouchsafes Boggs, 'whose name
is Orin Portant; but he's lynched over in Socorro.'
"'This is too much!' cries Jack, graspin' his artillery.
' Everybody fill his hand ! I'm the onmixed son of des
olation, an' it's yere an' now I enters upon my c'lamitous
an' devastatin' march!'
"As Jack utters the last word, both his guns go off
together, an' the bombardment sets in with a crash.
It's a riotous medley of flash an' roar! Every man jack
is blazin' away with two six-shooters, the sides an' roof is
plugged as full of holes as a colander, an' the effect is all
that could be wished. With the first shot all the lamps
blinks out; thar we be in the dark a powder-smokin'
pandemoneyum of gun-fire an' uproar!
"As the foosilade fetches loose, the Professor gives one
disparin' yell an* starts to plow his way through. Pistols
bark an' spit about his shrinkin' y'ears, an' each time it
augments his enthoosiasm. Slight an' paper-backed
as he is, onder the spur of a great desire, he parts the
crowd like water, breshin' aside sech minor obstructions
as Boggs an' Tutt an' Texas as though they're no more'n
shadows. In the end he escapes, howlin' an' screechin',
into the street. No, he don't eemerge through no door;
he's got 'way beyond doors! He simply t'ars the entire
front out of the old Lady Gay, an' vanishes into the
night. We marks his flight by y'ear. He gets further
an' further off to'ards the north, runnin' like a antelope,
evolvin' a screech with every leap, an' leavin' a screamin'
tail like a vocal comet behind.
"'This yere,' says Boggs in his whole-souled hearty
way, as he desists from his labors, ' constitootes what I
regyards as a perfect evenin'. I now moves we rendesvoos
at the Red Light without annoyin' delays. Which this
yere salt-peter in the atmosphere shore renders me as dry
as any powder horn.'
"'It's absoloote ver'ty, gents!' declares the Professor
a heap breathless to them sports in Tucson, which mee-
trop'lis he reaches next evenin'. 'That onbaptized
group of murderers an' man-eaters called Wolfville is
no more! I stays till the finish, an' makes a nose to nose
canvass of the corpses. It's as I tells you : forty dead an'
fourteen hundred wounded past recovery.' "
CASH BOX AND MRS. BILL
WITH us her name is always 'Missis Bill/"
observed the Old Cattleman, his manner
betraying a respect so deep it trenched
on reverence, "while his is 'Cash Box Billy.' As a
household, they don't remain long enough to get reelly
rooted among us none, seein' they're promoted by the
Express Company, inside of six months, to a p'sition
twict as good some'ers up about the Dalls. At that their
stay is s'fficient so we always recalls Cash Box with feel-
in's of friendly regyard, while as to Missis Bill we never
hears that matron's name without takin' off our hats.
"Which the conjoogal example of that remark'ble
pa'r becomes a never-flaggin' argyooment in the mouth
of Missis Rucker, on them occasions she engages in j'int
deebate with Peets an' mebby Texas, touchin' the
blessin's to flow from lady soopremacy in the fam'ly.
" * Matrimonyal success/ says Missis Rucker, 'is to be
secoored only when the wife's the onchecked head of the
house. Her motives is purer, her intellects is stronger,
her nacher is cleaner strain, an besides she's got more
sense.' Sayin' which, Missis Rucker commonly falls
back on Missis Bill an' Cash Box, as beyond cavil es-
tablishin' her claims.
"Shore; sech dispootations is freequent, for Texas
feels plenty deep as to wedlock, him havin' suffered,
while Peets likes to do it for relaxation. As to Missis
Rucker, I figgers sometimes her conscience pricks her con-
cernin' Rucker; an' its to jestify herse'f to herse'f, more'n
anything else, she indulges in them discussions. Now an'
then Boggs, who's easy moved, gets excited an' onloads
a few blurred views. Nacherally, they don't count none,
bein' nothin' more'n a re-hash of what Peets already
utters, Boggs holdin' an' rightful that Peets is the
intellectchooal colossus of the Southwest.
"Them bickers is a heap edifyin'; an' for myse'f,
while I'm never that courageous I takes part, I likes
to set an' listen. Speakin' gen'ral, they comes off at
chuck time across the table at the O. K. House, Missis
Rucker feedin' sometimes along with us; an' its shore
entertainin', after she evolves some speshul reason, provin'
how the best of husbands is mere six-spots in the marital
deck that a-way, seldom high or low an' never jack nor
game, to see her turn on Rucker who's waitin' on the
outfit an' say:
"'You go round up some rice puddin'; an' see that
them Mexicans in the kitchen don't hold out none on the
"Rucker'll be glowerin' like a indignant hedgehawg
behind Missis Rucker's back, but you bet he don't let her
ketch him at it. She's got him that redooced, all he dar's
say is ' Yes'm!' mighty tame an' obedient, as he vamoses
in quest of them viands.
" Why don't I never take no sides ? What's the good
CASH BOX AND MRS. BILL
of me gettin' all chawed up over questions which, from my
onmarried standpoint is wholly academic? Not but
what I has opinions; for I holds then, as I holds now, that
a household don't necessarily mean a tandem, an* thar's
sech a thing in nacher as husband an' wife travellin'
abreast. Still, I ain't so simple as to go expressin' these
yere beliefs. Which Missis Rucker an' Peets an' Texas
that a-way, their blood bein' up, would make me look
like a hen partridge at a mass-meetin' of minks!
"'You onderstands,' Texas'd say, 'I don't counsel
no gent to wed; speshully when the lady's bent on bein'
range boss for the outfit. Still, if a gent's that perverse,
he might jest as well shet his eyes an' go it blind. He can
gamble no matter who he marries, he'll wake up some
off-mornin' an* find she's someone else. Do you-all
reckon,' he goes on, gettin' excited an' backin' up on his
own pers'nal injuries 'do you-all reckon my Laredo
wife acts prior like she does later on? Well I should
shore say not!'
"'Whatever does she do, Texas?' asks Faro Nell,
who's plenty inquis'tive.
"'What does she do?' repeats Texas. 'Nell, before
I espouses that lady, butter 'd freeze in her mouth.
Turtle doves is hen-hawks by compar'son! Two weeks
after, she goes hectorin' round about ten thousand dollars
I has cached in the bank. She weeps night an' day, an'
allows through her tears that it ought to be in her name
same as mine; then if I blinks out inadvertent, she protects
herse'f, her check bein' good.'
"'An' whatever is your reply?' asks Nell.
"'What would any bliss-locoed mav'rick reply?'
returns Texas, mighty sore. 'Which I'm that fatuous
I yields. An* Nell, the next mornin' after I puts that
treasure in both our names, she trapses down to the
bank, draws out the entire roll, an* slaps it into another
bank to her own sole use an' behoof, barrin' me complete.'
"'An' then?" Boggs breaks in, Texas pausin' to up
lift himse'f mod 'rate with a calabash of Old Jordan.
'"An then?' repeats Texas, full of scorn. 'Thar
ain't no then ! When I goes pirootin' round to that money
institootion, aimin' to lay ba'r her perfidy an' recover
my rights, the cashier turns hostile at me from inside
his brass cage, an' whangs away with a six-shooter,
allowin' I'm out to rob the safe.'
"An' don't your wife offer no explanations?' pursoos
'"Shore! She's like Missis Rucker, an' defends her
game on the ground she's got more sense than me.'
"'Moreover,' interjecks Missis Rucker, smoothin'down
her bib, plumb satisfied, 'while it's no part of the O. K.
Restauraw's economy, to go round harrassin' the boarders
without doo cause, an' although this yere Laredo lady's
strange to me entire, it's my idee she proves it.'
"'That ain't all,' groans Texas, not heedin' Missis
Rucker; 'after she cleans me up for my bundle, she gives
it out that, onless I'm round home more evenin's, she'll
seequestrate my clothes. Tharupon I resolves to beat
her to it. I throws my duds into a big chest, puts on a
padlock, an hides the key. Gents, it never bothers her a
bit! She simply claps on another padlock alongside of
CASH BOX AND MRS. BILL
mine, an' thar, in one move, she has me out on a desolate
limb! After sech heartless exploits, do you-all wonder
how, matrimonyal, I'm plumb ready to pack in ? Why
I welcomes that divorce, same as a lifer down at Hunts-
ville does a pardon!'
"'The trouble, Texas/ says Enright, his tones gentle,
him feelin' sorry for Texas 'the trouble is you're some
too old when she ties you down. Husbands, to get best
results, must be caught young.'
"'Old!' exclaims Texas. 'Why, I'm only forty-one
when I'm entrapped.'
"'Which is twenty years too late!' persists Enright.
'Take a yooth of twenty-one, an' saw him off on some
lady not otherwise engaged, an' it's odds on thar's no more
trouble to come of it than between a kitten an' a sasser
of warm milk. At twenty-one, hooman nacher is like wet
buckskin, an' stretches or shrinks as occasion reequires.'
"But to hark back: Cash Box Billy is the money
gent for the Express Company. Thar's two people at
the express office, Cash Box an' a darklin' party whose
name is Andy Ball. Because this latter sport's the color
of a Mexican, with black eyes an' black ha'r, an' has be
sides a sort o' midnight manner, we calls him, indiscrim'n-
ate, 'Black Andy' an' 'Black Ball/ Boggs favorin' the
latter, him claimin' that the sight of Black Ball makes
him feel like a loser.
"Black Ball bein' single, that a-way, don't have no wife,
while Cash Box is a married gent of thirty years standin',
bein' acquired former by Missis Bill at the age Enright
recommends. Him an' Black Ball takes charge of the ex-
press office in yoonison, the company shiftin' the coyotes,
who's been holdin' down the play, to sityooations East.
" When Cash Box comes romancin' along, we nacher-
ally looks him over plumb severe. An for good an' s'ffi-
cient reasons, we usin' the Express Company same as if
it's a bank. It's thar we mows away our sooperfluous
money, said wealth Cherokee keepin' his bankroll
thar, same as the balance of us commonly mountin' to
as good as eighty thousand dollars.
"The Express Company tucks this yere treasure away
in a steel box inside the big safe, Cash Box packin' the
only key. Bein' he's the party, tharfore, app'inted to
ride herd on our wealth, an' sech mir'cles havin' been
heard of as the gent thus distinguished evaporatin' with
the riches committed to his charge, we-all regyards Cash
Box mighty intent, when he first blows in, strivin' to get a
idee of what resks we're up ag'inst. Which the more we
considers Cash Box, the more secoore we begins to feel.
One look into that honest easy-goin' face of his stam
pedes every doubt.
"The same can't be uttered none consernin' Black
Ball. In spite of him bein' soft-voiced an' aff'ble, he's
that sinister as to set you reachin' for a copper every time
circumstances compels you to place a bet on him. Don't
you ever notice that in folks, son? Thar's people you
trusts at the drop of the hat; thar's others from whom
your s'picions never lifts their eyes. Explain it ? When
I do I'll explain why you makes a pet of sheep dogs an'
not of snakes. Every gent in camp breathes freer, when
we learns how Black Ball ain't goin'to be tangled up, per-
CASH BOX AND MRS. BILL
s'nal, with our diner -o. Which we'd sooner have took
chances on totin' it in our boots!
"Black Ball's dead now, an' it shore don't become me
none to go speakin' ill of any gent over whom the grass
is wavin's, but between us, before Black Ball goes with
the Express Company, he's a lawyer at the Noo York
bar. However, he's took the big dark jump, so let it
slide; thar's no use rakin' up a onforchoonate past. He
shore quits bein' a Noo York lawyer a whole lot before
ever we meets up with him, an* who shall say he ain't
actchooated of reepentance an' a impulse to reform?
Notwithstandin' he's out for the camp's bundle when
bumped off by Missis Bill, I sees no reason to deeprive
him of this yere doubt.
" Cash Box is bald, an' five feet tall, an' his face is as
round an' open as a bull's eye watch. What he lacks in
physical elevation, he makes up in breadth an' depth,
an' if he was to get knocked over, he wouldn't fall, he'd
roll. Besides, he's as bland an' even-tempered as a
Joone night, an' no more donnin' airs or puttin' on a
bulge than a bunch of voylets.
" Missis Bill don't look no more like Cash Box than a
queen of clubs. She's a head taller, raw-boned, onstinted
as to hands an' feet, a jaw like the rock of ages, an' thin
wispy ha'r all streaked of gray. She's had the smallpox
too, an' shows it; an' some'ers along the trail she's gone
shy a eye. All told, thar's reason for assoomin', with
Jack Moore, that Cash Box, when he resolves to wed her,
comes to sech concloosion by candle light.
" An' yet, thar's somethin' mighty good an' reefreshin*
about Missis Bill. That one optic burns an' beams with
a steady gen'rous gleam that's shore fed from the heart
direct, an' like a light in a window shines out through the
dark for troubled people who have lost their way. Every
soul in the outfit likes Misses Bill; an', as for little En-
right Peets, he nacherally dotes on her. An* well that
blessed infant may! She stuffs him with sweet-meats
an' del'cacies to that degree he grows ten pounds heavier
in two weeks, an' alarms the camp. Peets has to give
"Most of all, Missis Bill looks after Cash Box. She
not only directs but she transacts his destinies, an' is to
him in all things owner, mother, wife an* slave. He
w'ars what she says, eats what she provides, sleeps when
she tells him to, gets up when she calls, an* daylight or
dark, sun-up or sun-down, lives an' breathes an' comes
an* goes by her decrees.
"An* Cash Box likes it. Talk of infatchooations;
why Cash Box is simply wropped up in Missis Bill!
That lady's his religion!
"'Ain't Missis Bill the limit?' he says, joyful to the
edge of eediocy; 'ain't she the mother of all flowers?'
"'Right you be, Cash Box!" Faro Nell replies, for
Nell's pleased at him thinkin' so much of Missis Bill.
'She's every thing you says! Ain't Missis Bill plumb
"'Missis Bill's a green tree an' a fountain!' Cherokee
returns; 'she's shore the shadow of a great rock in a
"'Thar's folks,' goes on Cash Box, who's encouraged
CASH BOX AND MRS. BILL
by Nell's enthoosiasm, an' Cherokee backin' her play,
'who laughs, an' allows I'm henpecked. Do I give 'em
a argyooment at sech times? Never! Which I'm
merely proud! I glories to be pecked by sech a hen!'
"'An' see how she takes care of you!' exclaims Nell.
' If you're her own infant child, you couldn't be in stronger
than you be!'
"'That's whatever!' echoes Cash Box; 'that's what I
weds her for to be took care of. Before I hooks up
with that one-eyed angel, I'm crawlin' out o' one hole only
to fall into another twict as deep. Life's made up of
them holes. Since she took charge of me, I've been
campin' on the high ground an' livin' on the fat. Why-
ever shouldn't I mind her smokes ? Missis Bill's forgot
more'n I know. She saveys more in a minute than
sech tarrapins as me does in a month of Sundays. Some
folks takes out insurance pol'cies; I takes out a marriage
licence, an' yoonites with Missis Bill. That's me!
that's cunnin' old Cash Box every time!'
"'Which Cash Box,' exclaims Boggs, who's emotional
an' gets freequent swept away 'which Cash Box is
certainly the finest little fat man whose trail I ever cuts ! '
"'You bet your guns I be!' replies Cash Box. 'Also,
a pet fox is foolish alongside of me ! An' all, onderstand
me, by virchoo of Missis Bill. When I'm with her, I
walks by the light of her glance; when I'm away, I feels
she's thar jest the same like the stars at noon, invis'ble
mebby, but shinin' on serene an' white an' steady! Oh
I knows my business; thar ain't a moment I don't go
needin' Missis Bill, Shore, I'm strong like a hoss; but I
reequires Missis Bill to hitch me up an' drive me, before
ever I can haul a load. I'm same as a steel spring; I
has to be pressed down in order to exert my strength, an'
Missis Bill's that pressure. An' lib'ral ? She ain't no
one to go muzzlin' the ox when he treadeth out the corn.
Not much! When her an' me's discussin' rum, I ups
an' says: "Old lady; how about me quilin' 'round four
libations of a evenin'? Don't you reckon four is
plenty ? " Missis Bill ponders some, an' shakes her head :
"Make it five, Cash Box," she says; "thar's luck in odd
numbers, an* that fifth hooker won't never down you
none." As for Fo'th of Jooly an' Christmas, at sech
seasons she takes my hobbles off an' throws me loose,
free to become as scand'lous as I likes.'
"'Thar's no doubt about it!' coincides Boggs, mighty
fervent; 'Missis Bill has got the right idee!'
"'What amooses me,' continyoos Cash Box, who's
thar with the goods about Missis Bill as long as folks'll
listen 'what amooses me is how some people expects
I'm goin* to be ashamed because I'm run by Missis Bill.
Why it's my boast! my one best bet! Once thar's a
editor person who waxes facetious about it, an' prints
in his paper:
"*C h B x is a careful bird,
He won't so much as cheep,
Nor ever dare to breathe a word,
Except his wife's asleep.'
" ' Do I grow weary or sore ? On the contrary I seeks
out that son of the mooses, an' offers ten dollars a stanza
for more, an' go as far as he likes.'
CASH BOX AND MRS. BILL
"It's about fifth drink time in the evenin' when Cash
Box onfurls the last, an* the same bein' her custom
constant Missis Bill floats by the Red Light door. It's
the regular signal; Cash Box up-ends his glass, an*
meanders forth. An' so, side by side, they p'ints away
into the dark for their one storey wickeyup, out on the
edge of town, Missis Bill holdin' 'ffectionately by Cash
Box's arm, an' him skurce up to her shoulder.
"'Look at 'em!" exclaims Peets, full of admiration;
' look at 'em, Sam! Which they've got Paul an' Virginny
wiped plumb off the pampas!'
"'They certainly be calk'lated,' returns Enright, 'to
excite envy in single folks.' '
MISSIS Bill is born in Texas, which let me say in
passin' is a mighty turgid commonwealth.
Also, while she's roast apples an* cream to
wards Cash Box an' the rest of us, she fully jestifies that
Lone Star emanation. She can protect herse'f as well as
Cash Box, saveys a six-shooter as complete as ever she
saveys a needle, an* shoots as fine as she sews. One
mornin' a rapid fire foosilade breaks out over back of
the Cash Box shack. Thar ain't a gent in camp could
have shook them loads out quicker, not even Cherokee.
"'It's all right/ says Texas, comin' up; 'it's only
Missis Bill. She opens on a rattlesnake, whose pitched
camp on her door step, an' she shore does bust him up a
heap! That fool reptile's in seven pieces before ever he
c'llects his wits. She's certainly some nimble with a
Colt's-45, is Missis Bill; it looks like she not only w'ars
the trousers, but packs the gun.'
"Like everybody else in town, onless it's Cash Box,
Missis Bill ain't got no use for Black Ball. Cash Box
himse'f is sort o' fond of Black Ball. Of course this yere
leanin' on the part of Cash Box don't mean nothin',
him bein' that egreegiously sunny he's fond of everybody
fond of Mexicans fond even of Rucker. An' he
MRS. BILL'S PROTECTORATE
does his best to indooce Missis Bill to stand for Black
Ball; but no, it ain't in the deck. She can't bring her-
se'f to so much as tol'rate him.
"'An' why not?' asks Cash Box. 'Tell me, so I
won't like him none myse'f.'
"'No,' returns Missis Bill, 'thar's no sense in doin'
that. You go on likin' him; I'd like to like him if I
could, but I can't. Somehow thar's that about him
which reeminds one powerful of Davy Crockett's log,
which stick of timber's that crooked it couldn't lay still.
An' yet, Cash Box, I don't hold this Black Bail reespons-
'ble for my feelin' averse to him. I reckons he can't no
more he'p bein' dislikeable that a-way, than I can he'p
dislikin' him. Only Cash Box,' concloods Missis Bill,
plenty serious, 'don't trust him don't take no chance on
him!' An' nacherally, sech bein' his habit, Cash Box
allows he won't.
'You knows me, Missis Bill,' he says; 'you're onto
the lovin' curves of your little Cash Box! You speaks,
I jumps; that's my system! Also, it goes either way, an*
black is white or chalk is cheese accordin* as you says.'
"Wharupon Missis Bill bestows upon Cash Box one
of them looks that means pie three times a day, an',
after kissin' her so it sounds like a pony's foot in the mud,
Cash Box goes pirootin' off to the express office on the
trail of them daily dooties. An' yet all that bluff about
him not trustin' Black Ball is, so far as Cash Box is con
cerned, a waste of words, as none is onto better than
Missis Bill herse'f. Cash Box don't know what the
word 's'picion' means; he's born that blind. Which.
he's that confidin' he'd set a rattlesnake to dry-nuss a
baby jackrabbit, an' then be plumb puzzled because the
little rab seems absent later on.
" What with Black Ball bein j by nacher secret, an' us
not interested in him no how, thar ain't a sport in camp
who's got the slightest notion of him. He works an' he
eats an' he rolls into his blankets nights, an' that's about
as far as our knowledge goes. For example that Black
Ball's the most locoed hooman bein' to gamble, who
ever figgers in the social life of South West Arizona.
But said information never breaks on us ontil it deevelopes
subsequent at the hearin' which, for the looks of things,
precedes the obsequies. An' even then it fills us with as
much amazement as a milk-crock from a high shelf.
"Still, our ignorance ain't hard to onderstand, since
Black Ball is plenty heedful not to do his kyard playin'
in either Wolfville or yet Red Dog. He's mighty sel
dom in the Red Light, an' never sets in ag'inst Cherokee's
bank. Not but what, if he does, he'd be as much in
fash'nable line as a nigger in Timbuctoo. But he don't
none; an' since no gent of reefinements, an' I might say
proodence, goes round askin' questions, it never dawns
on us that them three or four days each month he puts in
over in Tucson, he devotes to green-cloth specyoolations
"Sech, however, is the interestin' case; an* we hears at
the Oriental S'loon that, only show Black Ball a faro
layout an' endow him with a hatful of chips, he goes
plumb wild an' cimarron. They plays a lib'ral game
in Tucson, two hundred on doubles an' a hundred on
MRS. BILL'S PROTECTORATE
the turn, an' yet once he gets to goin' sech limits is irk
some to him. He whines an* pleads for latitoode, an*
when it's granted he bets 'em higher than the roof.
" No gent ever arises to su'gest that Black Ball gets
crooked action, doorin' them gamblin' fits of his. More
over, on the first two occasions he cuts loose, his luck is
that profoose he fairly wins the kyarpets off the floor;
his profits runs into thousands. As freequent occurs,
however, Black Ball's luck don't hold out; at mebby the
third settin' he plays in not only all he's ahead, but goes
dead broke besides. Worse, when he does shove back,
thar's markers waitin' for him to the toone of thirty-
seven hundred dollars. Black Ball explains to the dealer
that he'll send over the thirty-seven hundred by the next
stage, an', Wolfville credit bein' considerable above
timberline in Tucson, the sport back of the deal-box
offers no demur.
"Black Ball keeps his word; although he does it,
accordin' as Cash Box tabs up the racket followin' the
fooneral, at Boggs' expense. Boggs it seems wanders
in at noon, when Cash Box himse'f is gorgin' on Missis
Bill's midday feed, an' leaves five thousand to go into the
company's steel coffers that a-way. Boggs gives it
to Black Ball, who's the only gent in sight, an' he's to
turn it over to Cash Box, when he drifts in from his
"But, bein' he's in the hole for them thirty-seven
hundred it looks like the temptation's too much for
Black Ball. He peels the amount off Boggs' roll, an'
gives Cash Box only thirteen hundred. Shore, he ain't
mentionin' the deeficiency, but lets on thirteen hundred
is all Boggs changes in. Which if he had, it's a heap
likely thar'd have come some stirrin' moments Boggs
bein' a prey to all sorts of rannikaboo impulses, when
he's robbed. As it is, Cash Box receives the thirteen
hundred, slings it into the steel box, clicks the key,
enters it in his little old book, an* stands innocently pat.
"Enright, when we returns from plantin' Black Ball
among the 'llustrious dead on Boot Hill gives his theery
"'When Black Ball skins Dan's roll/ says Enright,
'he's honest enough an' intends to make good, regyardin'
it as a cinch that Cash Box falls for his request to sign
the note he aims to discount. After Missis Bill interferes
an' Cash Box don't sign no note, an' seein' he's in wrong
about Dan's thirty-seven hundred, Black Bail resolves to
vamos with every splinter in the till, an' begin life afresh.
Don't you reckon that's it, Doc ? '
"'Sech. s'lootion,' says Peets, 'is shore a heap con
"Havin' dispatched the thirty-seven hundred to the
kyard sharp in Tucson, Black Ball goes at Cash Box in a
manner which for him is mighty genial. He intimates
he's got his eye on a lady he's goin' to marry, an' ree-
quires five thousand dollars to back the play.
"'At first,' says Black Ball, keepin* up a great air of
glee, 'I shrinks back from becomin' a married man.
You recalls that old bluff about the frogs, Cash Box, an'
how, no matter how bad they wants water, they ref ooses
to jump in a well because they can't get out none ag'in ?
MRS. BILL'S PROTECTORATE
That's the way with me; I'm held back by that frog
view I takes of wedlock. It's beholdin' you an* Missis
Bill together does the trick; it's that which shore crystal-
izes my resolootion a heap. She'll be mighty near as
good a wife as yours, Cash Box; an' as for the note, said
instrooment's a mere matter of form that a-way.'
"'I thinks so to/ returns Cash Box; 'only I'll go ask
" Black Ball's hopes of Missis Bill ain't over bright,
an* he gives Cash Box a argyooment, an' even deescends
to taunt him some. He declar's that a gent who won't
sign notes for a pard is that mean an' ornery, if he owns
a lake he wouldn't give a duck a drink. It's all one to
Cash Box, obd'rate in his docility; he's certainly goin'
to get the views of Missis Bill, he says.
"'Well,' concloods Black Ball, when he finds Cash
Box immov'ble, 'we'll write it out, an' you can take it
along an' show her it ain't no trant'ler.'
"So Black Ball writes out the note payable to the
Tucson bank, an' him an' Cash Box signs up. Then
Cash Box goes weavin' over, an' submits the docyooment
to Missis Bill. That lady reads it, takes the shears
which hangs by a string from her belt, an* cuts off the
signachoor of Cash Box.
" ' Carry Black Ball that,' she says, givin' Cash Box the
note ag'in, his own name bein' off; 'carry it back; it's his.
Your name, which is yours, I'll keep.'
"'Missis Bill's ag'in us,' says Cash Box. 'She de
clar's that promises to pay money becomes as the worm
that dieth not an' the fire which is not quenched; an',
nacherally, sech observations from sech a source lets me
"Black Ball makes no reply, but bites away at his
"This yere's at noon; an* while Black Ball an' Cash
Box is foolin' an' fussin* over their express business the
balance of the day, Black Ball ain't sayin' a word. As
they're lockin' up for the night, he onbuckles a trifle.
"'Yousaveys, Cash Box,' he says, puttin' out his
long, lean hand to shake, 'that I ain't got no feelin'
"'Shore!' says Cash Box, takin' Black Ball's hand.
"As they sep'rates, Black Bali comes round on his
heel ag'in, like he remembers somethin'.
" ' Oh! ' he remarks, ' I'm mighty near over-lookin' a bet.
Let me have the key to the steel box; thar's a tangle in my
books, an' I'll have to prance round some early tomorry
mornin' to straighten it out. Which I must go over the
checks an' cash to do it.'
"Cash Box is that guileless he gives Black Ball the key
onhesitatin'. Black Ball knows the comb'nation to
the main door of the big safe, for it's thar he hives his
books nights. As for the office itse'f, both of 'em has
" Eevents ondoubted would have worked out to Black
Ball's satisfaction an' our loss, if it ain't that his designs
strikes the onexpected an' glances off. They caroms on
Missis Bill, an' that lady's protectorate over Cash Box,
a excellent feachure wharof is her ropin' onto Cash
Box's keys, the instant he shows in the door. That
MRS. BILL'S PROTECTORATE
particular evening when Cash Box only offers her the big
key, Missis Bill can't onderstand.
"' Where's the little key to the steel box?' she asks.
"Cash Box explains. Missis Bill's face takes on a
worry look, an' her one eye exhibits symptoms. An'
yet she don't like to go harrowin* Cash Box up.
"'Only,' she says, sort o' considerin' the business, 'I
shore wisht you-all hadn't a-done it none.'
" ' Yo tambien, now you says so,' returns Cash Box.
'Which it'll be all right, however; Black Bali wouldn't
no more go minglin' with that cash from crim'nal motives,
than Old Monte'd quit nosepaint. Thar ain't a chance! '
" Cash Box is mighty confident, but somehow, Missis
Bill don't feel so plumb shore.
"'I can't go ask Black Ball for the key now,' explains
Cash Box, replyin' to the look in Missis Bill's lone eye;
*it'd be same as sayin' he's a thief.'
"'Troo,' assents Missis Bill, 'it's too late now.'
"Cash Box, who's out o' reach of worry only as he
ketches it second hand from Missis Bill, lights his
seegyar after supper, an' wanders down to the Red
Light for them legit'mate five drinks. Havin' absorbed
'em, he in doo time says adios to the assembled company,
an* organizes for home.
"'Late hours,' says he, 'don't do for married gents;
speshully when they has wives like Missis Bill. Which
I'd sooner be that lady's husband than draw the wages of
" ' Don't it strike you, Cash Box,' observes Peets, who
likes to tease folks who seems el'gible tharunto 'don't
it strike you-all as borderin' on the miraculous, that sech
a bein' as Missis Bill is caught travelin'in your company ?'
"'It shore does!' returns Cash Box plenty stout.
'Still, you finds some mighty bafflin' combinations in
this yere life. You recalls how the Savior rides into
Jeroosalem on a burro that time.'
" It's one of the drawbacks to the possession of great
intellects that, the more mind a party has, the more that
party has on it. While Cash Box sleeps like a dead
man, Missis Bill, who can't get her thoughts off Black
Ball, remains as wakeful as squinch owls. At last, to
peacefy her own nerves, she gets up, dons a frock, wrops
a shawl about her, adjusts her shaker, an' starts for the
express office which is on the fringe of the camp.
"That time former, when Missis Bill gets married, the
nuptials is pulled off at the Four-J ranch. It's her pap,
old Bill Blackburn, who owns the Four-J outfit. As she
an' Cash Box goes arrangin' for the get-away to Hillsboro,
where they aims to pass the honeymoon, old man
Blackburn approaches with tears in his eyes.
"'My child,' he says to Missis Bill, 'on this ycre
solemn occasion let me, accordin' to the customs of our
house, endow you-all with the Blackburn fam'ly jooels;'
an', with that, he passes Missis Bill his Colt's-45
cartridge belt, scabbard an* all.
"As Missis Bill caparisons herse'f for that midnight
trip to the express office, she buckles on the ancestral
weepon. It's the one she bombards the rattlesnake with,
an' she's plumb familiar with it.
"Next to the express office is the corrals; but thar's
MRS. BILL'S PROTECTORATE
nobody thar at midnight, the greasers who should, bein'
one an' all over in Chihuahua, wearin* out their moccasins
at Santa Rosa's dance hall, or losin' the coats off their
improv'dent backs at chuck-a-luck an' monte. As
Missis Bill approaches the express office, she notes two
things that sends her heart into her mouth. The door
to the office is on the swing; also, through the gloom an'
shadows, she makes out a party on a pony, jest ridin'
out of the corral.
"Without a genius for promptitood, life in Arizona
slumps off into failure; an' so troo is this that even the
ladies final becomes plenty prone to get thar on time with
both feet. Missis Bill, the instant she sees the open
door, an' the mustange gent in the shadows, reaches
for old dad Blackburn's gun.
"'Hands up!' says Missis Bill, as she works her six-
shooter to the front, an' Jack Moore himse'f couldn't
have give the call-down more abrupt.
"The answer is a shot from the party on the pony,
which flies high; then he drives home his spurs, an'
charges Missis Bill to ride her down.
"The idee is good, all things considered, but it breaks
down in the execootion. The pap Blackburn six-
shooter cracks, an' the chargin' gent comes whirlin' out
o' the saddle like a shot wild duck. He clears his feet
from the stirrups, as he comes over the saddle horn, an'
the freed pony wheels an' runs back into the corral.
"Yes, it's Black Ball; an', since Missis Bill's bullet
ketches him as squar' between the eyes as you-all could
put your finger, it goes without sayin' that he's concloo-
sively not to add exhaustively dead, when he hits the
grass. That he comes off over the saddle-horn, that
a-way, is enough of itse'f to show he's all in. When a
gent's goin* to get well, he falls backward; when he's
plugged plumb center, he comes for'ard onto his face.
Thar's mighty clost onto ninety thousand dollars on
Black Ball when Missis Bill stops him; the bankroll
of the entire camp!
"'That little incident of Black Ball,' says Missis Bill a
month later, when the Express Company offishuls asks
her to name her reward 'that little incident of Black
Ball, gents, has sort o' sp'iled the camp for me; an', if
you-all jest as soon, I'd shore like to have you shift Cash
Box to some station further off.'
"'Ain't Missis Bill the lion-hearted lady?' says Cash
Box, as he comes down to the Red Light to say 'good-by'
the evenin' before him an' Missis Bill goes squanderin'
off for the Dalls; 'ain't she the guardian angel of the
broad an' sweepin' wing? Well I should yell!'
"She's a lady to be proud of, Cash Box!' replies En-
right. 'An' now thar's another matter: Nacherally,
the boys feels some grateful to Missis Bill. They was
roundin' themselves up to give her a banquet; but, upon
reflection, rum not bein' her long suite, they reeluctantly
puts the notion by. Tharfore, Cash Box, you give
Missis Bill the best compliments of the outfit, an' say
that she'll find a silver tea-set, branded with her 'nitials,
waitin' at your company's joint in Tucson; said tea-set
bein 7 a jo-darter, or old Sam Enright ain't no jedge!" 1
TWO NEW BIOGRAPHIES.
By ALFRED HENRY LEWIS.
An American Patrician.
The Romance of Aaron Burr. Illustrated. Cloth,
$2.00 net ; postage additional.
This, in a measure, is a companion book to the story of Andrew
Jackson, " When Men Grew Tall." It tells the biography of Aaron
Burr in a story form. This method of treatment, especially in the
case of Burr, gives an extraordinary reality to the book, inasmuch
as Burr, perhaps more than any other American, led a life so ro
mantic from its beginning to its close that it reads more like fiction
than truth. The story takes up Burr in his early days ; shows the
tendencies born in him; tells in a most picturesque manner, by
means of conversation, anecdote, and narrative, the principal epi
sodes of his early life ; and goes over the whole story of the insur
rection in the most dramatic manner. The Hamilton-Burr duel
is graphically described, and the book closes with an anecdotal
picture of Burr's last days. There is no question that this book
gives by its method of treatment a most realistic and graphic picture
of perhaps the most romantic life in American history.
When Men Grew Tall.
The Story of Andrew Jackson. Illustrated. Cloth,
$2.00 net ; postage additional.
This is an original form of biography which Mr. Lewis has suc
cessfully undertaken. It tells the story of Andrew Jackson's life
from the beginning to the end, almost in the form of fiction. There
are conversations which, though of course imaginary, are based
upon the best historical authorities. The author has endeavored to
reproduce the atmosphere of the times, the people, and the customs
of that day by making a vivid picture such as is produced in a good
novel. All the facts stated, all the episodes, all the mental pro
cesses of Jackson himself are correct and authentic. The author's
idea has been to eliminate the pompous form of the typical biog
raphy. The result is an interesting, absorbing story, which is after
all a part of American history. The story covers the origin and
early days of Andrew Jackson, and his home life. It gives admira
ble pictures of the rough frontier existence of that time, follows
Jackson through the New Orleans episode, goes minutely into his
family life, and finally gives a picture of Jackson as President of the
United States. The book is copiously illustrated.
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, NEW YORK.
THE LEADING NOVEL OF TODAY.
The Fighting Chance.
By ROBERT W. CHAMBERS. Illustrated by A. R
Wenzell. I2mo. Ornamental Cloth, $1.50.
In "The Fighting Chance" Mr. Chambers has taken
for his hero, a young fellow who has inherited with his
wealth a craving for liquor. The heroine has inherited a
certain rebelliousness and dangerous caprice. The two,
meeting on the brink of ruin, fight out their battles, two
weaknesses joined with love to make a strength. It is re
freshing to find a story about the rich in which all the
women are not sawdust at heart, nor all the men satyrs.
The rich have their longings, their ideals, their regrets,
as well as the poor ; they have their struggles and inherited
evils to combat. It is a big subject, painted with a big
brush and a big heart.
" After * The House of Mirth ' a New York society novel
has to be very good not to suffer fearfully by comparison.
' The Fighting Chance ' is very good and it does not
suffer." Cleveland Plain Dealer.
"There is no more adorable person in recent fiction
than Sylvia Landis." New York Evening Sun,
" Drawn with a master hand." Toledo Blade.
"An absorbing tale which claims the reader's interest
to the end." Detroit Free Press.
" Mr. Chambers has written many brilliant stories, but
this is his masterpiece." Pittsburg Chronicle Telegraph.
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, NEW YORK.
A STORY OF AMERICAN LIFE.
Illustrated Edition. With 70 full-page and
text pictures by B. West Clinedinst, and other
text designs by C. D. Farrand, and a biography
of the author by Forbes Heermans. 12010.
"What seems to us to be the final judgment of 'David Harum' is
given in the North American Re-view by no less a personage than John
Oliver Hobbes. This review strikes at the root of the matter.
" ' It would not be presumptuous to say,' opines Mrs. Craigie, 'well
remembering the magnificent ability of certain English authors of the
present day, that not one could create a character which would win the
whole English population as David Harum has won the American
public. The reason is plain. With so many class distinctions, a na
tional figure is out of the question. A national hero yes; but a man
for " winterin' and summerin' with" no. Social equality and inde
pendence of thought, in spite of all abortive attempts to introduce the
manners and traditions of feudal Europe, are in the very air of the
United States. One could not find an American man or woman of the
true stock who had not known intimately, or who did not count among
his or her ancestors, connections, relatives, a David Harum. The type,
no doubt, is getting old : becoming more and more ' ' removed " from the
younger generation. In the course of the next twenty years it may
become so changed as to seem extinct, but it is a national figure cer
tainly the most original, probably the purest in blood. And the spirit
of Harum is the undying spirit no matter how much modified it may
eventually become by refinement, travel, and foreign influence of the
American people. Individuals may change, but the point of view
remains unalterable. ' "New York Mail and Express.
" ' David Harum ' is one of those extremely rare and perfectly fresh
creations in current fiction which really enrich our literature. In brief,
it is a masterpiece, and one that deserves an immense popularity. No
words can adequately describe its wholesome, sparkling humor, its quaint
and endearing originality, its genuine Yankee wit and native shrewdness.
A well-nigh perfect work it is a creation which will take a permanent
place among American literary portraits." Literary Review.
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passion and strife, so sincere and satisfying as ' The Prodigal Son.' "
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*' The novel is wonderful in its power, its wealth of dramatic incident, and
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LIBRARY, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS
Book Slip-55m-10,'68(J4048s8)458 A-31/5
Lewis, A.H. E ?9
Wolfville folks. W65
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA